Comments by clafean

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Here are some more facts you

Here are some more facts you can choose not to believe:

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So... Are you for better


Are you for better education for our kids and country, or are you for national standards. I am not saying they are mutually exclusive, but I would, again, point out that we have had national standards for years, like 40 years. It hasn't worked. The local standards that have been alluded to here, were set by the Baldacci administration (I think) and they set the bar higher than the national standard. Our kids, in the beginning of the new standards, were performing poorly against them, but just as they started making progress, NCLB came along. When our kids performance was measured against our own State standards (again, higher than the national average) we were viewed as failing and that had consequences. So, Maine tried to opt out of NCLB and was turned down. The State Department of Education faced a choice... bring our standards down to national standards and appear to be successful or leave them where they were and be viewed as failing, loosing millions in Federal education funds. In the end, we lowered the standards.

That is why national standards are bad; not because standards are bad, but because, local is almost always better and national is almost always worse, in pretty much all things.

Common Core is different from other national education law in that it in not a re-authorization of ESEA, but something on top of it; law on top of NCLB. But, with a threat... if you don't adopt it, you lose federal education monies. And, enough of the money behind it is from the Gates Foundation, that even educators and policy influencers are uncomfortable.

Mark, you obviously have passion about this. But, you don't seem to be paying attention to the facts. We can argue big government v smaller government all day, but that doesn't seem to be be your focal point. I have argued in favor of free economy, that sailed by, too. I am left to believe that your issue is either with public education in general, which is, in my opinion wrong headed and intellectually lazy, or just with whatever I say. If that is the case, fine, but this is end of my participation. I am not shooting from the cuff; I have invested time and effort in understanding the realities and have developed an opinion from facts. I am open to discussion and if I have misunderstood something, I am willing to reconsider my point; so far you have given me nothing to work with.

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I have no idea what you are

I have no idea what you are in favor of or against.

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Regardless of how a college

Regardless of how a college chooses to judge a potential student, it is not something dictated by a national test, and here is the key part, developed under the auspices of the Federal Government. And there are many things that are looked at, some involve SATs or ACTs; some colleges don't even look at that.

I am not really sure what the point you are trying to make is. For my part, I am a cynic; I don't believe any government does much well, read: almost nothing, especially the Federal Government. We have had national standards for years, and that has gotten us exactly where we are. From my perspective, we can do better, but not by piling bad gov't policy on top of other bad gov't policy. And, that is what Common Core is and does. We need a clean slate. We need to eliminate Common Core, NCLB and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1970, its underpinnings. BTW, ESEA made expressly forbade a national curriculum; it is not too far a stretch to image that also means national testing, because, without a national curriculum, how can you test against it.

I am not saying don't test. I am saying local teachers are much better prepared to assess and address the needs of the individual student than some politician in Washington, who likely went to a prestigious private school and know nothing of public schools but the stats fed to them by someone with an agenda.

Don't worry about the colleges, they will find the best students regardless of the lack of national test results. How else can they produce well paid alum to support there massive endowments?

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At least here in Auburn, the

At least here in Auburn, the testing you are describing, and I alluded to, is called Advanced Placement Testing. It is offered, through a grant to virtually any senior who wants to take it, and many juniors.

I am not saying testing is wrong in general terms, what I am saying is that national standards are not the way, for the same reason NCLB failed here in Maine. The way we should be judging a school's performance should be based on the product our schools output in terms of the colleges accepting them and the employers that hire them (though to a much lesser degree, because employers have a tendency to be very specific in their requirements). NCLB ultimately served one purpose; it made the testing companies wealthy. (Yes, I am a bit cynical.) Testing for the sake of testing, which sounds at least to me like what you are proposing, is both wasteful and has proven to result in outcomes based education. If we apply proficiency based grading, the "testing" is done on a much more frequent, much less formal, and far more indicative way. And you know what,we won't need to pay a testing company.

Proficiency based education is a potentially great plan, Common Core is the wrong way to implement it (as is LD1422).

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Half the Story

You say: "One of several flaws of No Child Left Behind was that it allowed states to set their own educational standards."

That is 180 degrees off the mark. While it is true that NCLB allowed states to set their own standards, it dd not distinguish between states with higher standards from those with lower standards. States like Maine that had higher standards have been forced to reduce standards to get in line with other states who had lower standards. Achievement of standards should have been measured on a weighted scale that took the state's standards into account, but did not.

There are so many things that impact a school's, a district's and a state's ability to educate its students. Those factors differ from school to school within a district, from district to district, from state region to region and most definitely from state to state. Government is convinced that "grading" is the way to measure an educational entities effectiveness. While that may be true in the simplest terms, there is only one thing that truly shows how well the schools are doing; whether college bound kids get into the colleges they want to, whether they need to take remedial courses to be with their peers or not and how well they do with college; and how well students going directly into the work force do in terms of getting a job, doing that job, and keeping it.

Proficiency based education is, in my mind, a worthy idea. However, Common Core is not the way to achieve it. Instead of adding bad national law on top of bad law (on top of bad law), we need to reduce the nationalization of education policy, allow states to set their own standards, reduce the amount of money spent on constantly changing curricula and policy implementation and get out of the school's way and let them do their work.

There seems to be a bias against education in this country. That puts educators on the defensive and forces them to spend stupid amounts of resources trying to placate a populace that seems never satisfied with what they do. These are, for the most part, highly educated, caring people doing the best they can under near impossible circumstances. They are to be applauded not treated to yet another political mess. If we as a society spent some time trying to understand what really goes on in our schools, got over the jealousy of teachers and their summers off, and really thought about it for a minute, we might give public education more credit for the job they are doing. That might result in more support. Common Core is not the solution. Support, understanding and respect for our schools is. Take laws away, it'll make education better and far more cost effective (less expensive).

Common Core is more bad educational policy (that receives substantial funding from the Gates Foundation; Bill Gates will probably make another $ billion with it's implementation). I urge anyone offered a petition to sign it.

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No I am Not going to run, I know you all want me too.

An no, I know you all want me to run for office, but that isn't going to happen.

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Who the Heck is Pete?

Arthur I am a founding and card carrying member of the Cynic Party. And while I don't trust anyone in state or federal levels of government, I have maintained a modicum of trust at the local level. Up until last year that distrust was aimed squarely at the school department. After being involved in the school department for the last year at the Administration level and working very closely with the school committee, that opinion changed. There is this attitude in Auburn that everything wrong with out city is the fault of our school department; that is patently false. There is an attitude that the increase in our taxes is solely due to the schools; that is completely erroneous. Both of these attitudes have been cultivated by our current city council. So, my distrust is now squarely aimed at the municipal side government. We are prohibited by charter to attempt to get the city budget on a ballot, and I for one think that is by design (obviously, duh!) so that they can keep playing "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" when it comes to their budget. So as frustrated you feel with the school department, I feel toward the municipal gov't.. But, there is a solution to all of this. This is America for Pete's sake, we can do anything (BTW, who the heck is Pete?) We just have to keep talking, and elect leaders who understand what leadership is and find those solutions.

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Don't trust 'em

I can't argue with your facts and your logic in as much as it doesn't address a go forward plan. Having said that, no, I do "not rely on the U.S. Government to be factual?" In fact, because the government, especially anything related to the Federal Government, I don't believe it. Especially numbers, they are far too easy to manipulate.

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Kathy, I don't even know how

Kathy, I don't even know how to answer that question. The education system in Auburn is the product we have to sell, and the value of that product is determined by how well it serves the students and the community. It is all about the students!