Today at the NH State Board of Ed meeting, there was an attempt to STOP Commissioner Edelblut from reviewing the current (Common Core) English and Math standards.  In other words, these people are perfectly fine with maintaining the dumbed down standards in our public schools.

Administrators from Laconia, Merrimack, the North Country, Hillsborough- Deering, Oyster River along with SAU 16  (Brentwood, Exeter, East Kingston, Kensington, Newfields, Stratham and Exeter) spoke before the State Board of Education in support of keeping the dumbed down Common Core Standards in place.  At the invitation of Carl Ladd from the NH Superintendents Association, all spoke against reviewing the standards.

I spoke in favor of the Commissioner reviewing the Common Core Standards and identified SOME of the flaws.  One mother raising 4 children also came and explained the numerous problems with Common Core in her school district.

If parents/teachers want to see improvements to the academic standards, it’s important that they attend a State Board of Education meeting and make a statement.  Those who cannot attend a meeting can contact the board directly

To: Dear Chairman Cline and Members of the New Hampshire Board of Education
From: Ann Marie Banfield, Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action [email protected], 603-228-4794

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017

RE: Concerns regarding NH State Academic Standards in Math & English

I come here today to speak on the review of the State academic standards in Math and English, which are also known as the Common Core State Standards. I initially wanted to speak on the vote to deny Commissioner Edelblut’s effort to review the Next Generation Science Standards, but in the interest of time, I will submit written testimony on that topic.

I have been a vocal opponent of the Common Core Standards for New Hampshire schools since those standards were adopted in 2010.  I also oppose the Next Generation Science Standards, as I explain in the testimony I am submitting. It was shocking to see the Board vote to deny a review of the NGSS in view of the information I am providing.  This is information that was never discussed at the hearing to adopt the standards and it should be the basis for a review as soon as possible.  I believe New Hampshire can do better for the children who attend our public schools. The Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards do not offer the quality that I believe our schools can provide to our students.

Several parents attended the March State Board of Education meeting and testified on the problems they’ve seen with the Common Core in their local public schools.  One parent, a physician, removed her child from her local public school and is now sending her to a private school.  This is a common theme among the many parents who’ve attended public hearings supporting legislation to get rid of the Common Core in New Hampshire. Parents engage their local administration and support legislation to improve the standards, but when that falls on deaf ears, they feel they have no other choice than to remove their children from the public schools.

Common Core does not prepare students for STEM programs that we critically need in New Hampshire.  Jason Zimba, lead writer for the Common Core math standards, said that the definition of college readiness is a minimal definition of college readiness and is not for STEM or selective colleges. This is a fundamental flaw in a long list of problems associated with the Common Core Math Standards.

In an effort to retain young graduates in New Hampshire, we must support academic standards that prepare students for these important careers.  There is no good reason not to support quality academic standards for public school children in the same way students in private schools are supported.
Common Core’s English Standards need to be reviewed and improved.  Dr. Sandra Stotsky, member of the Common Core Validation Committee offered a critique on the Common Core English Standards several years ago. This kind of expert analysis gives us detailed information that we can use to then add or change standards in an effort to improve the English standards too.

I’ve attended public hearings in New Hampshire over the past seven years. Parents have repeatedly filled rooms testifying about the numerous problems their children have experienced with the Common Core Standards.  Parents have been in tears testifying in hopes that someone would listen to them and make the necessary changes. 

Parents, students and businesses will all benefit when educational standards are developmentally appropriate, include critical missing concepts that have been identified in the Common Core and NGSS, and offer public school children the same opportunities as students attending elite private schools.

Early Childhood experts issued a warning on the Common Core Standards in the early grades that those standards were developmentally inappropriate for young children.  With the public debate for expanding kindergarten, it’s even more important that we get this right. Adding to a child’s anxiety and stress in kindergarten, because the standards are cognitively inappropriate, kills the love of learning.  This is a time when we should be making sure those young children succeed, not putting up road blocks. However, that’s exactly what Common Core is doing to these five and six year-olds.

There are over 1800 signatures from one web site calling for getting rid of Common Core in New Hampshire. Since each one of you serve in a New Hampshire district, I encourage you to go through the comments and read from the people in your district. When there is a story on WMUR mentioning Common Core, look at the comments and note how many people comment negatively on Common Core.
Finally, Governor Sununu ran his campaign promising to scrap Common Core.  There is nothing like a parent having to figure out the confusing Common Core math in 2nd grade to awaken them to the serious problems associated with the standards. The voters spoke in November and it is up to Commissioner Edelblut and this board to listen to the voters and act upon their message to you.

In conclusion, I will highlight some of the more glaring problems associated with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. 

Academic standards should be reviewed in the same way teachers are reviewed for their performance; often.
This will take a great deal of time in order to get right because in 2010 this decision was rushed through with almost no critical analysis.  It’s important to take the time and gather content experts, University professors, teachers, parents and early childhood experts to make sure we offer the best for children attending public schools in New Hampshire.

K.OA.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
WORD PROBLEMS? Kindergarten children are still learning how to read at this point.

Common Core Kindergarten:
K.CC.1. Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
OLD (Superior) California 1st Grade:
1.1 Count, read, and write whole numbers to 100.

Common Core Kindergarten:
K.OA.3. Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
OLD California 1st Grade:
1.3 Represent equivalent forms of the same number through the use of physical models, diagrams, and number expressions (to 20) (e.g., 8 may be represented as 4 + 4, 5 + 3, 2 + 2 + 2 + 2, 10 − 2, 11 − 3).

Common Core Kindergarten:
K.CC.1. Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
OLD California standards 1st grade:
2.4 Count by 2s, 5s, and 10s to 100.

Common Core Kindergarten Standards:
• K.OA.5. Fluently add and subtract within 5.
OLD California math standards 1st grade:
2.1 Know the addition facts (sums to 20) and the corresponding subtraction facts and commit them to memory.

Common Core PUSHED 1st grade standard into kindergarten.
The OLD (and superior) California math standards didn’t expect young children to work problems too early.  Ca. didn’t demand children learn confusing math algorithms that slowed down the pace of learning math as they got older.

Not only did they get it RIGHT in the early grades, (CA) didn’t bog down the students as they progressed.  The OLD Ca. standards then moved children through arithmetic so they were ready for Algebra I by 8th grade.  Compare that to the developmentally inappropriate early math standards in Common Core and confusing algorithms that eventually slow down the progress, which puts students on a path for Algebra I by 9th grade.

The Common Core tests requires students to be able to do multi digit multiplication and division in fourth grade, the Common Core standards do not require the mastery of the standard algorithm until later. This creates a mandate that students learn “alternative strategies.”

An example of how to meet the 4th grade algorithm without the standard algorithm was required on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Students would have to use the confusing fuzzy math algorithms to solve the problem. Lattice/ Partial products method. Learning multiple and confusing algorithms slows the progress of learning math the Common Core way.  The Common Core standards do not require the standard algorithm until 5th grade for multiplication.

The OLD CA standards required students to know the multiplication tables of 2s, 5s, and 10s (to “times 10”) and commit them to memory in 3rd grade. Memorize to automaticity the multiplication table for numbers between 1 and 10

By 4th grade:
Students solve problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers and understand the relationships among the operations:
3.1 Demonstrate an understanding of, and the ability to use, standard algorithms for the addition and subtraction of multi-digit numbers.
3.2 Demonstrate an understanding of, and the ability to use, standard algorithms for multiplying a multi-digit number by a two-digit number and for dividing a multi-digit number by a one-digit number; use relationships between them to simplify computations and to check results.

You can see how following the OLD CA math standards are logical and do not require time be spent on confusing algorithms that slow down the learning.

Using CA standards, students move ahead of their Common Core peers. Instead of pushing standards into kindergarten where they don’t belong, they start them later but over time, students move ahead of their Common Core peers because they aren’t bogged down with confusing math.

Common Core doesn’t test the standard algorithm for long division until 6th grade and then requires division of up to four digits by one digit divisors in 4th grade and digit divisors in 5th . How can you do that the Common Core way? By learning fuzzy math methods for division like the column division method or the partial quotient method.

The standard algorithm for division is not taught until 6th grade, while division of multi-digit numbers is required on Common Core tests starting in 4th grade.

A lot of time is wasted learning multiple algorithms while their peers in private schools that do not follow Common Core are now moving ahead of their Common Core peers in public schools.
This is why Common Core is not for STEM students.

What are some of the more glaring omissions in the NGSS?
1) Not enough chemistry for a stand-alone high school chemistry class
2) No high school physics
3) The life science standards are lacking a considerable amount of biology, including whole body systems, cell and tissue types, cellular feedback mechanisms, protein structure and function, cell division (mitosis and meiosis), bacteria and virus.
4) Physical Science omissions include: Newton’s first law, energy, thermodynamics, Ohm’s law simple electrical circuits, and lab safety.
5) The scientific method is absent

Stan Metzenberg, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge prepared an analysis of the NGSS that were under consideration in Massachusetts:
1) pre-Kindergarten to Grade 8 and introductory high school courses, have significant, unacceptable gaps in science content, as well as some notable errors and inaccuracies.
2) They are stunningly devoid of Mendelian genetics and large parts of cellular biology. This is an astonishing oversight for a state that has notable institutions of higher education and a thriving biotechnology industry.
3) The principles of evolutionary biology are also incomplete and sometimes incorrectly stated.
4) The standards are largely unintelligible because of abuses of the language, and sometimes grammatically incorrect.
5) They do not support the stated purpose of standards, to indicate what students should know and be able to do.
6) These draft standards do not include any high school exposure to the nucleus, mitochondria, or chloroplasts.
7) Nearly complete absence of Mendelian genetics at the high school level, despite the promising language on p.51 (titled p. 49)