Monday, October 31, 2016
Friday, October 28, 2016
Common Core hasn’t done much for student achievement, but it has spawned a plethora of well-funded groups to push the national standards come hell or high water. One of these groups is the Collaborative for Student Success. The Collaborative is in a spitting contest with Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute in Kentucky, and it’s losing.
The Collaborative is funded by all the usual suspects who’ve poured money into the Common Core scheme from the beginning: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, ExxonMobil, etc. In the early days of Common Core, the Collaborative just spouted evidence-free claims about how wonderful the national standards would be for students. Now that test results are coming in, though, and are showing that every day in every way, things are getting worse and worse, the Collaborative has pivoted to explaining why there’s nothing to see here and we should all move along.
The Collaborative’s latest sally was in response to Innes’s post about the disappearance of several ACT tests that had long been used in Kentucky to assess college-readiness. As Innes pointed out, the discontinuance of those tests severed a number of trend lines that would provide valuable information about Common Core’s effect on college-readiness.
The Collaborative would have none of it. They shot back that Kentucky is doing very well with Common Core, thank you, and the data from the non-ACT tests show it. They even had a graph! But Innes quickly pointed out that the graph was misleading at best, reversing two of the data bars so that the casual reader would think Kentucky test scores have gone up when in fact they’ve gone down. As Innes observed, the decline in scores “isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Common Core.” He continued, “I don’t know and won’t speculate about whether this was a conscious attempt to mislead, but it certainly isn’t good data presentation.”
The misleading graph also showed something that, as Innes suggests, the Collaborative probably doesn’t want to highlight: Kentucky’s state test scores “do look inflated compared to the [National Assessment of Educational Progress – the “nation’s report card”]. That doesn’t agree with the Collaborative’s closing comment that: “States like Kentucky are headed in the right direction by setting expectations high and evaluating progress toward those goals.”
Innes noted other problems with the Collaborative’s analysis, including its mistaken claim that Kentucky had replaced PARCC with the Kentucky state test (in fact, Kentucky dropped out of PARCC before the test was developed) and the claim that states could avoid disruption and turmoil by sticking with PARCC or SBAC (the two federally funded tests, both of which are themselves in turmoil).
Former U.S. Department of Education official and Common Core critic Ze’ev Wurman responded to another claim made by the Collaborative in its response to Innes:
[The Collaborative said, “This year, most states administered tests aligned to higher standards for the second consecutive year. Overwhelmingly, student proficiency in math and reading increased.”
Perhaps, but rather unlikely. The much more likely reason is the well-known “test familiarity” effect, where teachers and students get to know the test over time and also frequently adjust their test-taking skills. The fact that there was a very sharp drop in the NAEP scores across the nation in 2015, first time in over a decade, suggests that students’ achievement has not increased but just the opposite – that achievement dropped with the introduction of Common Core.
The exchange has been entertaining. It also shows that asking the Collaborative to assess Common Core is rather like asking John Podesta to assess Hillary Clinton. It’s good to have honest brokers such as Dick Innes and Ze’ev Wurman in the conversation.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Monday, October 24, 2016
Friday, October 21, 2016
Obama himself anticipated -- have been putting their sanctions relief windfall from the nuclear agreement to prompt use, stepping up support to terrorists and anti-American militias. Their world-leading state sponsorship of terrorism is "undiminished" since the Obama administration bypassed Congress and struck an agreement with the Al Qaeda-harboring regime, under which Tehran receives tens of billions of dollars in exchange for a temporary, loophole-filled pause of their previously-illegal nuclear program. Contra Tim Kaine, the agreement does not even remotely "end" Iran's nuclear ambitions. Just the opposite, in fact. So with their coffers replenished, Iran is doing what Iran does -- via Reuters:
Iran has stepped up weapons transfers to the Houthis, the militia fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen, U.S., Western and Iranian officials tell Reuters, a development that threatens to prolong and intensify the 19-month-old war. The increased pace of transfers in recent months, which officials said include missiles and small arms, could exacerbate a security headache for the United States, which last week struck Houthi targets with cruise missiles in retaliation for failed missile attacks on a U.S. Navy destroyer. Much of the recent smuggling activity has been through Oman, which neighbors Yemen, including via overland routes that take advantage of porous borders between the two countries, the officials said...That raises a further quandary for Washington, which views the tiny Gulf state as a strategic interlocutor and ally in the conflict-ridden region. A senior U.S. administration official said that Washington had informed Oman of its concerns, without specifying when...The Iran-allied Houthis gained a trove of weapons when whole divisions allied to former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh sided with them at the start of the war last year. But Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s exiled government say they also receive substantial amounts of weapons and ammunition from Iran. Tehran views the Houthis as the legitimate authority in Yemen, but denies it supplies them with weapons.Yemen, you may recall, was touted by Obama as a success story in the region. Oops. As the Reuters story mentions, not only are the Iranians increasing their global meddling, they're arming a group that is firing missiles at American ships, prompting retaliatory strikes. If you're keeping track of this brilliant 'smart power' diplomatic stroke, the US government forked over billions to a known sponsor of terror, which then...sponsored terror, transferring weapons to a militia that is now attacking American warships. Take a bow, Mr. President. And Madame Secretary, who laid the groundwork for the reckless nuclear accord -- which she still supports, despite a broad bipartisan consensus against it. Meanwhile, Iran continues to flex its muscles in Iraq, helping to fill the power vacuum left over by the Obama/Clinton foolishly hasty, politically-motivated withdrawal from that country (where Iranian bombs have killed hundreds of US servicemen, it must be noted). Things have gotten so bad with ISIS that Obama has quietly redeployed thousands of Americans to Iraq, though the administration insists they are in a non-combat role. Tell that to the US soldier who was killed by an enemy IED just this week near Mosul. And in case you missed Cortney's post earlier in the week, the Iranian government is demanding more ransom payments in exchange for the release of additional US hostages, more of whom Iran has inevitably seized since the last cash-for-hostages scheme. The Washington Post's editorial board took notice of Iran's conduct vis-a-vis hostage-taking and ransom-demanding, scolding the Obama administration:
More and bitter evidence of [enduring tensions] came Tuesday, when Tehran announced that two American citizens and a permanent U.S. resident had been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of “cooperating with the hostile U.S. government.” ... The government of Hassan Rouhani, which negotiated the nuclear deal with the Obama administration, is often portrayed as opposed to this de facto hostage-taking. If so, the government appears powerless to prevent it. Instead, officials complain about the relatively slow return of Western investment and trade following the lifting of United Nations sanctions, even as some of those who promote the opening are unjustly imprisoned. Iranian foreign policy, too, remains unchanged. The regime has dispatched thousands of fighters to Syria to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad and is using Shiite militias to extend its influence across Iraq. It is encouraging Russia’s new bid for influence in the Middle East while doing its best to drive out the United States...Though it was officially part of a separate claims settlement, the Obama administration’s delivery of $400 million in cash to the Iranian regime at the time of the release of Mr. Rezaian and other prisoners may have whetted the appetites of Tehran’s jailers."May have." Cute. Iran is a malignant actor running roughshod over a weak American president who is obsessed with protecting the legacy of the terrible nuclear deal he struck, at virtually any cost. His administration paid one massive ransom to Iran to buy back some imprisoned Americans (the "official" story is a laughable pretext), and now -- surprise! -- Tehran is back at that well, asking for more. And why wouldn't they? Obama has offered concession after concession, even after the lopsided accord was finalized -- including lifting sanctions on key banks closely tied to Iran's illegal ballistic missile program. The regime is getting everything it wants, including, it seems, the ability to purchase new airplanes from US companies. A comprehensive, humiliating, dangerous rout. And by the way, Mr. President: No, Israel does not support the Iran deal.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Obama Takes Education Victory Lap Over Social Justice Warrior Program Called Common Core : Minority Students Trail Whites Due to ‘Legacy of Discrimination’? Obama Lying Again
Barack Obama is taking a victory lap, claiming that the country saw “real progress” in education during the eight years he has been in office.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Obama: I Want Trump to 'Stop Whining? September 19, 2016 , Whiny Obama Blames Rush/Fox News For Close Presidential Race;
The near 8 point lead Hillary Clinton enjoyed in the first ten days of August has disappeared. In the latest Real Clear Politics average, Hillary's average lead has slipped to 0.9 points. Trump leads in Ohio and is starting to peel away support from Hillary in other states. In addition, Gary Johnson, while expected to draw votes from Trump, is actually taking more away from Clinton at this point.
So it's not surprising to see President Obama get in a snit to see the race is so close. He naturally picks out the usual suspects for these developments and as always it is Rush Limbaugh and Fox News:
President Obama says "misinformation" fed by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and right-wing web sites partly explains why the presidential race is such a nail-biter.
Obama: I Want Trump to 'Stop Whining' And 'Discrediting' Democratic Process? But Here Are The 5 Things Obama Has Whined About in His Sad, Sad Life as President
1.Whining About The Press. Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, channeling Richard Sherman?
2.Whining About Republicans. In December 2012?
3.Whining About Supposed Conservative Racism?
4.Whining About The Constitution. In May, Obama complained about the structure of the Constitution stopping him from doing what he wanted. In April 2013,
5.Whining About His Own Scandals?
Obama hosted his last state visit on Tuesday, welcoming Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to the White House. It wasn't long before their discussion shifted to the presidential election during their
joint press conference. At the media's nudging, the president immediately took to criticizing GOP nominee Donald Trump's rhetoric, particularly his apparent and "unprecedented" praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Mr. Trump’s continued flattery of Mr. Putin and the degree to which he appears to model many of his policies and approaches to politics on Mr. Putin is unprecedented in American politics and is out of step with not just what Democrats think but out of step with what up until the last few months, almost every Republican thought, including some of the ones who are now endorsing Mr. Trump,” Obama said Tuesday during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.Also "unprecedented," Obama said, is Trump's "discrediting" the democratic process by continually insisting the election is "rigged." It's not based in facts, the president said.
It doesn't show the leadership and toughness you need for this job, he argued.
"You start whining before the game's even over?" Obama asked. "Then you don't have what it takes to be in this job."
"I want Trump to stop whining."
There exists evidence to suggest the Obama administration knew the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria still had a stockpile of chemi...