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Topic: Who Are the 24 People Who Wrote the Common Core Standards?
Replies: 1   Last Post: Jul 10, 2014 10:12 PM

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Bishop, Wayne

Posts: 2,881
Registered: 12/6/04
RE: Who Are the 24 People Who Wrote the Common Core Standards?
Posted: Jul 10, 2014 10:12 PM
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Very helpful, thanks. The NY Times put Phil Daro as 1 of 3. Here is more detail on the entire math situation.

The problem with the CCSS is that one has to go beyond the words to see reality. Although the words are correct, ?The Common Core State Standards articulate quite clearly students are expected to master arithmetic including fluency in the standard algorithms. Instructional approaches are not part of the standards,? the effect is the exact opposite. Let me be specific:

Both the writing of the math CCSS and guidance of the assessments thereof were far too heavily influenced by people who have long histories of undermining fluency in the standard algorithms of arithmetic through, say, ordinary fractions, decimals, percent, and ratio and proportion with straightforward but mixed- type word problems. By design, these ?standards? suffer from the same flaws of those of the NCTM; there are no grade-level, unambiguous, specifications of what the so-called ?fluency? means. My decades old analogy is with track and field is that competitors are to run fast and jump high but stopwatches and graduated high-bars are to be prohibited; the evidence is in their long-standing vision of ?authentic? mathematical assessment.

It should come as no surprise that this NY Times article has former NCTM Pres. Linda M. Gojak quoted as, ?I taught math very much like the Common Core for many years.? For decades their emphasis has been for ?received wisdom? pedagogy over demonstrated student competence: "Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling."

Her explanation that, ?When parents would question it, my response was ?Just hang in there with me,? and at the end of the year they would come and say this was the best year their kids had in math,? is not only unverifiable; it is belied by the huge surge in private school enrollment, commercial supplementation (Sylvan learning, Kumon, Stepping Stones,...), and home supplementation - even complete homeschooling - commonly with Saxon Math or Singapore Math. There is a real world and the Times author picked up on it, ?But for parents, the transition has been hard.?

One misinterpretation that the Times author would have had no reason to suspect was revealed in, ?Moreover, textbooks and other materials have not yet caught up with the new standards, and educators unaccustomed to learning or teaching more conceptually are sometimes getting tongue-tied when explaining new methodologies.? The fact the matter is that these curricula have been being developed for decades and often with many millions of NSF-EHR dollars in support. Even the federal Department of Education rated some of his stuff as ?Exemplary? 15 years ago and you can still get your free copy of these ?Exemplary and Promising? assessments from government publication (1-877-433-7827 - call is toll-free and free postage as well). The only mathematician on the panel, UT San Antonio?s Manuel P. Berrioz√°bal, refused to sign off on any of these curricula. The supposedly student performance-based success of the programs couldn?t pass the smell test in his estimation and the mathematics content was clearly inadequate especially for math-based academic studies, now abbreviated as STEM, but the fact is that the elementary and middle school materials were and are inadequate preparation for skilled trades as well.

More generally, there is no dearth of mathematics curricula consistent with this CCSS (effective though not stated) mandate; the influence has been strong for decades and nearly all commercial curricula deeply reflect that fact. The one area where these materials are ?inadequate? is as preparation for the ?new? CCSS assessments in preparation for the guidance of SBAC and PARCC. It is one thing to conduct a class in a small learning group, student-oriented manner and quite another to exhibit mathematics conceptual and computational competence with assessments that are ideologically pure but untested for validity using long-standing and well-studied instruments for the purpose. This was bad enough with the forerunners for these ?new? assessments; best known among them Alan Schoenfeld?s MARS Balanced Assessments and those associated with the New Standards Project called the New Standards Reference Exams specifically in mathematics, the NSMRE. The latter was the assessments that Jim Milgram and myself in 2002 confirmed to be completely misinforming using the same cohort of students, the full data of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Using the NSMRE in 4th grade and the PSSA (Pennsylvania?s statewide and more traditional examination system) in 5th grade one year later. Instead of low socioeconomic minority kids being at or above the national level in mathematics computation and comprehension, some 60% of them were already mired at Below Basic or Far Below Basic; life?s prospects glaringly on the wall. These new exams not only lack demonstrated validity with known exams they have an added dimension of difficulty, learning to answer them electronically. The required level of ability ?to mouse? only compounds the unusual nature of the items. I worked my way through the 3rd grade SBAC practice test with my niece, an experienced elementary school teacher. Her disturbed assessment, ?I pity the poor third-graders.?

A Holy Grail goal within the reform math gurus of recent decades (as opposed to the New Math of the 60s) is to have people with the same mathematics education philosophy write both the ?standards? and assessments. Amazingly, with the CCSS and the developers of these corresponding assessments have succeeded beyond philosophy to a very small subset of the very same people! From that same NY Times article, we have, ?Phil Daro, one of three principal writers of the Common Core math standards.? His qualifications? Phil Daro was in charge of the mathematics portion of both the New Standards Project and preparation of the NSMRE referenced above. It is not just that specific project; consistent performance with better understood assessment instruments is - and will continue to be - dismissed by the CCSS leadership, the "professional" education industry, well-intentioned private education funding magnates, and well-intentioned politicians from both sides of the aisle. Our experience with the Pittsburgh Public Schools is exemplary but not unique. Another example is Alan Schoenfeld's MARS Balanced Assessments, also mentioned above, many more millions of NSF-ERH dollars and Noyce private dollars preparing the forerunners of our current "balanced" exams. In his writings and those of the "independent" statistics and validation team, students who scored high on the traditional "control" exam but low on the MARS were immediately and without justification identified as "false positives". Similarly, but far fewer, those scoring low on the control but high on his MARS were "false negatives". I tried very hard to persuade him to take some of that NSF money, identify a sizable fraction of those "false" identifications, go back to the individual classrooms (Santa Clara USD was one of the primary districts), and have the students' teachers serve as arbiter (he had full data, not to be shared, of course, but I am sure that if he were to have done it, it would've been done honestly). In the process of trying to answer this question using Schoenfeld?s own data, I found that the ?independent? (and also NSF funded) validity assessment was being done by the University of Nottingham UK and guess who was in charge? Their URL is no longer active but at the time:
Phil Daro is a polymath - an English major, he became a research methods and evaluation expert at Berkeley. He moved through the California State Department of Education to lead that State's professional development in Mathematics as Director of the California (and American) Mathematics Projects. He has long been interested in the processes of educational change, and in the role of assessment in forwarding it. He helped devise the Balanced Assessment Project, and is one of its directors.
His advice is greatly in demand nationally. Among recent responsibilities, he was co-chair of the Task Force advising on the revision of the California Mathematics Framework.
He is now Executive Director of the New Standards Project, which provides the most wide-ranging set of performance assessment resources at Grades 4, 8 and 10 that are currently available across the US.
Phil Daro is a co-director of the MARS, with particular responsibility for strategy and systems issues.

Don?t miss Phil Daro?s mathematics credentials for this crucial role of both writing the math standards of the CCSS and guiding their associated exams, a bachelors degree in English. Not adequate mathematics education to merit a legitimate junior high mathematics teaching credential. Pedagogy matters - in fact, pedagogy uber alles - mathematics competence (and genuine ?conceptual understanding?) be damned.

I am absolutely convinced that those "false positives" were, in fact, mathematically true positives. Many of them would be of the situation of my Korean daughter-in-law when she came in 6th grade with only the most rudimentary English skills but a couple years ahead of her classmates mathematically (that was great for her self-esteem and developing English skills as she helped others). After playing with the 5th grade SBAC practice exam, I'm sure that if she were to have taken a test of the SBAC variety she would have scored badly, a complete misrepresentation of reality. Even without her extreme situation, the exams tilt heavily away from people with limited English skills in spite of mathematical competence and even those of us with competent English skills but who like to write ?tight? mathematics - self-evident to a knowledgeable reader but not lots of unnecessary BS. The items of the sample test don't seem to be as "off-the-wall" as I was afraid they might be (given Daro's history) but they are much too language intensive, too heavy on polished test-taking skills, and perhaps worst of all, far too heavily on their need of an ability to "mouse". That is, the problem can be understood and completed quickly and competently with no guarantee that that will be reflected in a final answer or even if it is possible to indicate the best answer appropriately. Especially if an answer is a little bit complicated algebraic expression, sometimes typing works, sometimes you have to drag component symbols, and way too much time is required to figure it out when the representation is not coming out right. Many zero-sum classtime hours might resolve that problem by replacing it with a worse one.

I have been arguing for decades that curricular reform in education should be separate from assessment of grade-level competence and yet it is something that reformers always do, completely undermining the ability to assess the original motivation against the changes made. Ze'ev Wurman caught this gem a couple decades ago...

It seems that fairly quickly after introduction of the (then new) NCTM Standards performance on standardized tests had not only failed to improve, they tended to drop. True believers were trying to use this as evidence that the familiar examinations were inappropriate and must be changed ASAP. One of the most influential reform-minded groups in mathematics was the UCSMP (University of Chicago School Mathematics Project) with co-PI Zal Usiskin with preparation of their eventual Everyday Math well underway.
"Let us drop this overstated rhetoric about all the old tests being bad. Those tests were used because they were quite effective in fitting a particular mathematical model of performance - a single number that has some value to predict future performance. Until it can be shown that the alternate assessment techniques do a better job of prediction, let us not knock what is there. The mathematics education community has forgotten that it is poor performance on the old tests that rallied the public behind our desire to change. We cannot pick up the banner but then say the tests are no measure of performance. We cannot have it both ways."

Zalman Usiskin What Changes Should Be Made for the Second Edition
of NCTM Standards. UCSMP Newsletter, n12 pp. 10 (Winter 1993)

This age-old solution is being realized with the CCSS. Get rid of or modify all the old exams before the CCSS really comes into play. Yet more generations must pass before we, once again, genuinely (i.e., statistically) offer the opportunity for upward mobility through education that was available to me in a one-room country school well over a half-century ago. Sad.

Wayne ?

From: JERRY-P-BECKER-BIGA-L List <JERRY-P-BECKER-BIGA-L@LISTSERV.SIU.EDU> on behalf of Jerry Becker <jbecker@SIU.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 12:41 PM
Subject: Who Are the 24 People Who Wrote the Common Core Standards?

>From Family Taxpayers Foundation. See , Monday, April 28, 2014.
Mercedes Schneider: Who Are the 24 People Who Wrote the Common Core Standards?

By dianeravitch

A few days ago, I posted the names of the members of the "work groups" that wrote the Common Core standards. There was one work group for English language arts and another for mathematics. There were some members who served on both work groups.

Altogether, 24 people wrote the Common Core standards. None identified himself or herself as a classroom teacher, although a few had taught in the past (not the recent past). The largest contingent on the work groups were representatives of the testing industry.

Mercedes Schneider looked more closely at the 24 members of the two work groups to determine their past experience as educators, with special attention to whether they had any classroom experience.

Here are a few noteworthy conclusions based on her review of the careers of the writers of the CCSS:
In sum, only 3 of the 15 individuals on the 2009 CCSS math work group held positions as classroom teachers of mathematics. None was a classroom teacher in 2009. None taught elementary or middle school mathematics. Three other members have other classroom teaching experience in biology, English, and social studies. None taught elementary school. None taught special education or was certified in special education or English as a Second Language (ESL).

Only one CCSS math work group member was not affiliated with an education company or nonprofit ?

In sum, 5 of the 15 individuals on the CCSS ELA work group have classroom experience teaching English. None was a classroom teacher in 2009. None taught elementary grades, special education, or ESL, and none hold certifications in these areas.

Five of the 15 CCSS ELA work group members also served on the CCSS math work group. Two are from Achieve; two, from ACT, and one, from College Board.
One member of the work groups has a BA ?read more at

and see that attachment to this note.

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core


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