Common Core Math In Texas?

Share Button

common core


Part 1 of the Series: Common Core Math War Rages in Texas

By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.     

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – In 2012 the Texas State Board of Education approved new math curriculum standards.  Since then, chaos has erupted over these standards.

Randy Houchins and John Pendergraff, two mechanical engineers with children in Texas public schools, are very adamant that the Common Core process standards have managed to creep into their children’s math materials and STAAR tests.

Since Common Core is illegal in Texas, how could this happen? 

And why shouldn’t Texas schools use Common Core math if they prefer?  This series seeks an answer to these questions.

One of the national experts for the Texas math curriculum standards review was Dr. James Milgram, who has been highly critical of Common Core math.   Milgram, professor of mathematics emeritus, Stanford University who was a member of Common Core’s Validation Committee and the only content expert in mathematics for the standards, refused to approve the standards.

Core Math Standards, according to Milgram, have very low expectations.

Milgram compares U.S. requirements with those in high achieving countries where students study Algebra I and the first semester of Geometry in Grades 6, 7 or 8 and by Grade 9 will have completed much of our Algebra II content and Geometry at a more sophisticated level than U.S. students.  Students from high achieving countries are expected to complete a standard Calculus course to graduate from high school with over 90% of the populations typically being high school graduates.

By the end of 7th Grade, Core Standards are roughly two years behind.  Common Core math includes “most — but not all — of Algebra I and about 50% of regular Algebra II, as well a ‘strange’ Geometry course,” says Milgram.

Milgram notes that Calculus is required for most critical areas such as engineering, medicine, computer science, economics and the sciences.  (Milgram & Stotsky, “Lowering the Bar:  How Common Core Math Fails to Prepare High School Students for STEM,”)

Professor Jason Zimba, lead writer of Common Core’s mathematics standards, has admitted that Common Core prepares students only for a two-year college. When asked whether Common Core prepares students for a STEM career, Zimba replied, “Not only not for STEM, it’s also not for selective colleges.” (Emphasis added)

Why did writers of Common Core Math decide only Algebra I is essential?

The answer to this question lies buried in the history of the birthing of Common Core – which is linked directly to Hillary Clinton.

In 1989, the National Center for Education and the Economy formed a commission under the U.S. Department of Labor.  The NCEE is a highly connected “nonprofit” with a role akin to that of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s funding of Common Core.

Along with other key players, the commission included Hillary Rodham Clinton, NCEE leader Marc Tucker, Michael Cohen (key in Clinton’s Goals 2000 and later Common Core), and HillaryCore architect, Ira Magaziner.

On November 11, 1991, Marc Tucker sent the famous “Dear Hillary” letter, laying out a master plan for the Clinton administration to seize the entire U.S. educational system to serve national economic planning of the workforce.

Tucker’s plan is “to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone,” coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.”

This ambitious plan does not address teaching children how to read, write, or calculate.  Instead, public schools will change from teaching academic basics and knowledge to training for the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards – training for American collectivism.

Tucker told Hillary that “radical changes in attitudes, values, and beliefs are required.” He said the way to overcome this resistance was “consensus building” among governors and Congress.  

It was this same game plan, along with many of the same people and organizations, of Common Core.

Tucker’s comprehensive plan was implemented in three laws signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994:

1.     The Goals 2000 Act

2.     The School-to-Work Act, and

3.     The Reauthorized Elementary & Secondary Education Act.

These three laws create the following mechanisms to restructure public schools:

·         All elected officials on school boards and in state legislatures would be bypassed by making federal funds flow to the Governor and his appointees on workforce development boards.


·         A computer database, a.k.a. “a labor market information system,” would be established so school personnel could compile and track personal information for each student and his family from birth or preschool onward, identified by the child’s social security number: academic, medical, mental, psychological, behavioral, and interrogations by counselors. The school, the government, and future employers would have access to the computerized data.


·         Centralized government control would come through “national standards” and “national testing” that take over tests, assessments, school honors and rewards, financial aid, and the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM), designed to replace the high school diploma.

Tucker’s plan uses the German system which trains children for specific jobs to serve the workforce and the global economy  instead of educating them to make their own choices.  Marc Tucker’s plan prepares public school students for the workforce only – our “worker bees.”

This education structure that Hillary helped to design is the forerunner of Common Core.  It was Hillary who sold the idea of national standards to Obama.  Common Core fulfills some of the education agenda that she failed to get passed.

In 2013 Marc Tucker discussed the key findings of the NCEE study about college and career readiness.  Of the students in U.S. colleges, 45 percent attend community colleges which provide not only most of the nation’s vocational education, but are also a main pathway to four-year colleges. Algebra II is not a prerequisite of community colleges so NCEE recommended that schools abandon the requirement that all high school students be required to take Algebra II.

Further, Algebra I should be delayed until Grade 10.  Of critical importance is that this delay precludes high school students being able to take Calculus. 

Also of critical importance, says Dr. Milgram, is that,

“This [NCEE] report does not consider the question of which four-year colleges will accept just one year (Algebra I) of high school math.  Virtually all the higher rated ones…require at least four years.

“The study ignores what will happen if the community college student transfers to a four-year college.”  

In my next posting, I’ll explore what happened during the math TEKS review.  Dr. Milgram, Niki Hayes, Randy Houchins and many others have candidly spoken with me about the events surrounding this curriculum review and how things went awry.

Follow Carole Hornsby Haynes at


Share Button
Read More


Share Button




Outraged parents. Fleeing teachers. Anxiety-ridden and medicated students. Fuzzy math. Crazy history assignments posted on

Facebook. Longitudinal databasesSilenced community members at school board meetings in YouTube footage. Newfangled public

school pathways of college and career readiness under the banner of “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and math) on a wild,

21st-century, technocentric highway that’s littered with stakeholders who are up in arms over federally mandated testing, national

curricula alignment, data collection, and questionable content packaged into one-size-fits-all education.

classroom There’s yelling and screaming from all sides of the political spectrum about the educational mandate known best as the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). It raises a  lot more than emotions; it’s a nationwide debate. Proponents tout CCSSI as the greatest achievement since the Enlightenment, while opponents compare it to the Dark Ages,  a deliberate dumbing down of America, as Charlotte Iserbyt would say. Iserbyt was the Reagan admin whistleblower who struck a major blow to the technological forerunner to  the tracking and data-mining age.

So what is Common Core?

Common Core is federally-led education introduced in the Obama administration’s 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“stimulus package”) through a contest called    Race to the Top (RTTT). States could apply and compete for federal grant money. Four billion in federal taxpayer dollars were offered with a catch:

  Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive        education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow   as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come.

Out with the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind (NCLB),” criticized for its “high-stakes” strategy of always teaching to the test. In with the Common Core, a uniform set of standards and curricula that, according to their critics, ratchet up the role of government in education, as well as student data collection, teacher evaluations, and NCLB “empathetic” learning. The result is a Fed-led ed cocktail constructed on the premise that our public schools are low performing, broken, and lacking the kind of rigor necessary for students to compete in the global marketplace.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia jumped onboard with CCSSI, intent to raise the roof beam high on rigor to meet international benchmarks.

Best perk? A student could be in Ohio on Tuesday. Wednesday, the family moves to Nevada. Theoretically, he’d pick up in math on the same next page. Wow, sign me up for that! And the online tech tools – they’re brilliant. Click on a standard. ProQuest K12 from SIRS (Social Issues Resource Series) takes you to scrubbed content from premier education provider of the Common Core, Pearson, the London-based conglomerate. Only problem is the info’s on the school-sanctioned and cyberlocked iPad.

Common Core has raised a valid concern: what exactly are they teaching the children?

Common Core was well pitched as state-led and “voluntary.” Even according to the US Department of Education (DOE), public education is described as “…primarily a state and local responsibility in the United States… it is states and communities, as well as public and private organizations of all kinds, that establish schools and colleges, develop curricula, and determine requirements for enrollment and graduation.”

Yet it’s the DOE’s actual role in education that prompted opponents like Diane Ravitch, a two-year veteran of the education department (1991-93) under Lamar Alexander and author of Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, to call the Common Core “NCLB 2.0.” Translated: No Child Left Behind on steroids.

Ravitch lashed out at DOE chief Arne Duncan, contrasting him with now-Sen. Alexander, whom she characterized as “scrupulous about not interfering in local decision making. He used his bully pulpit, as all cabinet secretaries do, but he never tried to influence the choice of local leaders. He respected the principle of federalism. Apparently, Duncan missed the class on federalism.”

Duncan’s not the only target of CCSSI critics. Robert Holland, senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, suggested in a Baltimore Sun interview that one reason Common Core “[has] attracted so much opposition from both the right and left is that it was developed in elitist fashion, bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presented as a fait accompli without public hearings and then pushed hard by the Obama administration…”

Back in June 2010, CCSSI released the English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics standards with promises of next-generation Science standards by 2013 and Social Studies standards by 2017. Esteemed educators handpicked to sit on the ELA and math validation committees, Drs. Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram, didn’t sign off on the standards, labeling them as inferior.

Stotsky, who developed one of the nation’s strongest sets of K-12 academic standards and licensing tests for prospective teachers, is now an outspoken staple on the “Stop CCSSI” circuit. Recently, in a Breitbart News interview, she discussed the spin machine surrounding the standards, saying, “Everyone was willing to believe that the Common Core standards are ‘rigorous,’ ‘competitive,’ ‘internationally benchmarked,’ and ‘research-based.’ They are not.”

Common Core is like the convoluted plotline of a daytime drama, impossible to explain in 25 words or less. That’s why so many bloggers, news organizations, and talk radio personalities cover it in manageable bites. Ultimately, it lives up to the unfortunate axiom coined by Nancy Pelosi when speaking about Obamacare in 2010: “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” We have, one worksheet at a time.

In school work that comes home, we see how foundational math, taught in a spiral fashion to build on concepts from grade to grade, is gone. This is replaced by math lattices, ladders, and linguistics-based long-winded division and distributive property word problems loaded up with social issues, like the “heroin habit” high school math homework that made the rounds. This is only the tip of the iceberg and one reason that critics like Michelle Malkin call it “Rotten to the Core.”

When Common Core was originally introduced, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) was its “front man,” only these governors weren’t governors of any states. NGA is a private non-profit with the Center for Best Practices that co-owns the Common Core State Standards copyright with another non-profit, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Yes, CCSS is copyrighted; its content cannot be changed. Teachers cannot write their own content. Proponents say there is no content, but there are assessments. These must be testing something, and it stands to reason that whoever controls the tests controls the curricula, and whoever controls the curricula, one fine day, controls the country.

For now, many deem Fed-led ed a failure – not good for the kids, not good for the teachers. States like New York and South Carolina lead the pack in efforts to shut down the test; they join Wisconsin and Indiana parents and teachers who stand against centralized education, preferring individual state standards.

Big business and big bucks abound in Big Ed, though. CCSSO boasts a wow-list of corporate partners on its website topped off by Microsoft, Prometrean, Scantron, K12, Metametrics a.k.a. Lexile, Scholastic, Pearson Education, Apple, and Amplify. Also on the list are the familiar philanthropic and educratic faces: Bill & Melissa Gates (Foundation), Eli Broad, Jeb Bush, Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, Achieve, Microsoft, SmarterBalanced Assessment Consortium, PARCC (Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers), Pearson, InBloom, and the Annenberg Foundation. There was Mike Huckabee. He was for the Core, but now no more, he says.

One on NGA’s massive corporate fellows list is McKinsey & Co., whom David Coleman, president of the College Board, consulted prior to creating think tank Student Achievement Partners, LLC. Although Coleman’s never taught a class K-20, he’s busy aligning every high school assessment for college (including high school equivalency GED) to CCSSI, with SAT alignment to follow in 2016. Coleman’s credited as CCSSI architect along with cronies math professor Jason Zimba and Education Analyst/Curriculum Specialist Susan Pimentel.

They say nothing comes from nowhere. Common Core’s no exception.

Flashback to November 11, 1992, before the Clinton Administration’s Y2K “Improving America’s Schools Act,” to an 18-page “Dear Hillary” letter that resides in the Congressional Record. Penned by Marc Tucker,  president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) to then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, this letter may well be the blueprint for the Common Core.

The letter was written one week after Bill Clinton was elected president. Hillary served with Tucker on the NCEE board. In it, Tucker outlined to Hillary the transformation of the entire American system into “a seamless web that extends from cradle to grave” and is the “same system for everyone,” coordinated by a “system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and job matching will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program.” The mission of schools would change from “teaching children academic basics and knowledge to training them to serve the global economy in jobs selected by workforce boards” in an outcome-based system “guided by clear national standards of performance,” set to “international benchmarks” that “define the stages of the system for the people who progress through it.” In this “new system of linked standards, curriculum and pedagogy will abandon the American tracking system.” Best of all, college loans debt will be forgiven for “public service.” Sound familiar?

Tucker understood the need for community buy-in to sell the plan. He recommended to Hillary that “…legislation would require the executive branch to establish a competitive grant program for these states and cities and to engage a group of organizations to offer technical assistance to the expanding set of states and cities engaged in designing and implementing the new system.” Can you say Race to the Top?

Tucker described the roll-out plan: “[As] soon as the first set of states is engaged, another set would be invited to participate, until most or all the states are involved. It is a collaborative design, rollout and scale-up program.” The endgame was to “parallel the work of the National Board for College Professional and Technical Standards, so that the states and cities (and all their partners) would be able to implement the new standards as soon as they become available…” The result was that the whole apparatus would be operational in the majority of states within three years from “the passage of the initial legislation.” Common Core implementation began in 2010.

In the “Elementary and Secondary Education Program” portion of the letter, Tucker speaks directly to Hillary: “so we confine ourselves here to describing some of those activities [to restructure schools] that can be used to launch the Clinton education program,” noting that early childhood education “should be combined with quality day care to provide wrap-around programs that enable working parents to drop off their children at the beginning of the workday and pick them up at the end.” Universal daycare, preschool to pre-kindergarten?

Congress passed every one of the “Dear Hillary” letter ideas. Signed by President Clinton in 1994, the Goals 2000 ActSchool-to-Work Act, and the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) were all funded through federal taxpayer dollars and according to many are the very legislation that drives the education machine’s mandates at a federal level today.

Goodbye 3R’s. Hello socially engineered education.

Very long story short, this is the Common Core.





Share Button
Read More

Hit Counter provided by Skylight