Hillary: A Presidential Candidate In Need Of An Education

What does Hillary think about what is going on now in k-12 education?

Watch this video and find out:


What I would like to ask Hillary after watching the video is:

1. What do you mean by the Common Core being a “wonderful direction”? Do you know what the 42 Common Core English Language Arts Standards are and in what ways they help or hinder students becoming thoughtful readers, effective writers, and deep and broad thinkers?

I am very familiar with those 42 Common Core English Language Arts Standards and know that they are detrimental to producing thoughtful readers, effective writers, and deep and broad thinkers. I doubt that Hillary has read those standards and, even if she has, has no idea about the developmental needs of students and the  best ways to teach them.

Of course, standards can be a good idea, but only if the standards themselves are worthy ones. It is also a good idea to eat three meals a day but not if those meals are comprised of a lot of sugar and very little protein and vitamins.  The Common Core English Language Arts Standards are sugary fluff and will make neither the students nor the country strong. .

2. What do you mean when you say that the Common Core was “not politicized”?

The Common Core standards were approved by governors before they were even written and before the governors knew what they would contain because accepting them was the only way that states could be relieved of the sanctions the federal government would impose on them for not meeting the impossible goals of NCLB and be allowed to apply for Race to the Top money.  It was all totally political. It was all about the federal money. It was political bribery.

3. Why do you imagine that the Common Core and the aligned detesting will prevent a ” two tiered educational system” when, in reality, the Common Core and the aligned testing will create those two tiers?

One tier is the children of privilege who either go to elite private schools which do not adhere in any way to the Common Core and which do not test their students with Common Core aligned tests or go to suburban schools which do not limit education to the Common Core and do not emphasize test prep because the income level of their students insures good test scores.

The other tier is the children in urban schools whose education is largely test prep about the limited and damaging content of the Common Core.

Tier one students develop skills for their future; tier two students learn how to take tests that do not assess the quality of their thinking, collaborating, reading, or writing.

4. What do you mean when you said that we should go “back to basics”? What are your “basics” and why are we going “back”?

Basics for the present and the future are: exploration, collaboration, effective written and oral communication, creativity, cultural awareness, curiosity, questioning, imagination, accessing and analyzing information, problem solving, innovation, civic engagement, and initiative. The Common Core addresses none of these, and the Common Core aligned tests assess none of them either.

5. Why do you say that we should “look to teachers” for the direction of education?

You praise the Common Core, yet when the Common Core English Language Arts Standards and the Common Core Early Childhood Standards were created, not one single teacher was involved.  The standards were created by employees of testing companies. The Common Core Standards are not good education. They are a compilation of items which can be measured on standardized tests  and teach students to write essays which can be nonsensical but receive high marks from the testing company computers which grade them.

6. Hillary, please can we talk?

Connecticut’s Flag That Must Come Down

When Nikki Haley, the Governor of South Carolina, changed her mind and took back her long-held support for the flying of the Confederate flag, she said that she did so because she didn’t know how she could explain the flag’s presence to her young children. After the deaths in the church in Charleston, Nikki Haley must have looked at the flag and seen something different. She must have seen racism.

Let us in Connecticut, the state with the greatest income difference between the very wealthy and the impoverished and the largest achievement gap among our K-12 students, look anew at what we, as a state, have been supporting. Let us see if we missed the racism underlying it all.

If education in Connecticut is not marked by racism, why do affluent, suburban, largely white students have an education that is of a much higher quality than the education provided in the urban areas where most black students attend school?

The suburban students read whole works of literature and ask their own questions about that literature and about how that literature connects to their own lives. They collaborate with one another in class discussions and explore diverse perspectives as they analyze texts, evaluate ideas, and problem solve. They write essays not just to support claims but also to explore questions for which there are no ready answers and to explain the evolution of their thinking as they read and discuss a work of literature.

Black students in our cities, howeve, do test prep because their schools are under pressure to improve standardized test scores. Those students read only excerpts from literary texts. They practice answering multiple-choice questions instead of posing their own questions, and they write only formulaic essays to prove claims about topics not of their own choosing but ones on sample standardized tests.

The suburban, largely white students develop capabilities that will serve them well in their future. The urban, largely black students learn to see school as a place to be compliant and passive.

If education in Connecticut is not racist, why do we use standardized tests as the measure of achievement?

All standardized tests are correlated with the incomes of the test-takers. In addition, the Common Core-aligned tests, such as the SBAC tests that Connecticut uses, have no validity in terms of predicting success in college or careers. The tests also are not rigorous but, instead, have been designed and constructed so that 70% of high school students taking the math SBAC test will fail it and 60% of the high school students taking the English SBAC test will fail it. When the Governor and the Commissioner of Education set those failing rates, prior to the administering of the test at 70% and 60%, they knew that the majority of those students who will be labeled as failures will be poor and black. They also knew that the “failing”  was artificial and communicated very little about actual achievement.  As a state, we spend millions on this useless exercise of standardized testing which further stratifies our akready stratified state.

If education in Connecticut is not marked by racism, why is school structure different for suburban whites and inner city blacks?

Those in the suburbs are enfranchised to make decisions about their public schools- to elect school boards which write policies, formulate budgets, set priorities, and inaugurate programs for ALL students in their community. On the other hand, blacks in the cities are told through the actions of the Governor and the acquiescence of the General Assembly that almost all of their students must remain “trapped in failing schools”  except for a few who will be saved from themselves by the actions of wealthy, white entrepreneurs who will set up profit-making charter schoools. No suburban community is asked to accept that just a few of its chidren will be adequately educated.

These charter schools are staffed by transient, inexperienced teachers, keep only those students who do not have special needs and are already proficient in English, foster increased racial segregation, and have no greater record of success than the traditional public schools that have been labeled as “failing”. The charter school entrepreneurs are like Harold Hill of  The Music  Man. Harold Hill  convinced the citizens of River City that, first of all, their children were in peril and, secondly, that their children could be saved only by being in a marching band, for which, of course, he would sell them the instruments. Charter school entrepreneurs , like Harold Hill, treat parents of inner-city chidren as gullible, uneducated, and easily manipulated. No  entrepreneurs seek to open charter schools in the suburbs.

John Dewey said, “What the wisest and best parent wants for his own chidren, that must the community want for all its children.” We in Connecticut, however, do not do that. The wisest and the best parents, or at least the wealthiest and those with the most options,  choose either elite private schools, none of which use the Commmon Core or the accompanying standardized tests and all of which have experienced teachers, or they choose public schools committed to educating all students with a broader, deeper curriculum than the limited Commmon Core. Those in political power in Connecticut must see the black children of our inner cities as ” other” and “less than” because their education is not the same education as the one that people of privilege give to their own children.

We, like South Carolina , must look at what we have supported in the past through the lens of what happened in that Charleston church. We must take down the Connecticut flag of separate AND unequal education. We must see the racism in our flag.

We must equitably educate ALL of our children.