School district to host Common Core workshop

Opportunity for parents to learn more about Common Core

The Pleasanton Unified School District, along with the Alameda County Office of Education, is set to host a Common Core State Standards Workshop on April 25.

Some topics being presented on include:

● An Overview of Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

● Resources available for use with newly adopted Math materials for 2015/16

● Depth of Knowledge and Cognitive Rigor

● Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and College/Career Pathways

● Literacy Across the Curriculum

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Amador Valley High School, 1155 Santa Rita Road.

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Posted by West side observer
a resident of Oak Hill
on Mar 31, 2015 at 12:01 pm

I would suggest parents ask about the extortion used by the Feds on the states. In essence, "you want Fed $$$ then you better buy into our program"--which is most assuredly about curriculum. Then ask to see the list of reading recommendations and ask why it looks like a reading list from a Cal Berkeley sociology class and not a time-tested literature reading list. Common Core is a perfect example of government slight of hand. They call it Common Core State Standards, wave the cape, and voila we are supposed to buy it.

11 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Mar 31, 2015 at 12:22 pm

@West side observer: "Then ask to see the list of reading recommendations and ask why it looks like a reading list from a Cal Berkeley sociology class and not a time-tested literature reading list."

My daughter is going into the 4th grade so your post made me curious to look up the Core reading list for the 4th grade. Here it is below. Looks good to me. Are there any that you have a problem with?

Grades 4–5 text
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden
Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion
Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de. The Little Prince
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting
Singer, Isaac Bashevis. “Zlateh the Goat.”
Hamilton, Virginia. M. C. Higgins, the Great
Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House
Curtis, Christopher Paul. Bud, Not Buddy
Lin, Grace. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Blake, William. “The Echoing Green.”
Lazarus, Emma. “The New Colossus.”
Thayer, Ernest Lawrence. “Casey at the Bat.”
Dickinson, Emily. “A Bird Came Down the Walk.”
Sandburg, Carl. “Fog.”
Frost, Robert. “Dust of Snow.”
Dahl, Roald. “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.”
Nichols, Grace. “They Were My People.”
Mora, Pat. “Words Free As Confetti.”

1 person likes this
Posted by rotten core
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 31, 2015 at 12:28 pm

You're SO RIGHT, WestSide!

Nevermind that CC is unconstitutional in the first place! (Remember the 10th Amendment re: States' Rights?)

Nevermind that CC was written in part by Marxist and former domestic terrorist... Bill Ayres.

Nevermind that CC is one of the most sweeping domestic spying programs whereby there will be hundreds of very private data elements of families reported to the Fed.

Nevermind that kids will be programmed into "Career Clusters" at grade 9 whereby their classes and later careers will be "chosen" for them. (Reminds me of the East Germans biopsied kids to determine what sport they'll be allowed to play).

Nevermind that info about America's Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution and will not be taught.

Nevermind that kids will not be taught to think analytically and creatively.

Nevermind that lessons will be exclusively geared to prepare kids for standardized tests, of which there will be many.

Nevermind that this is entirely a government indoctrination program...not liberal arts education.

Nevermind that a focus is against capitalism, conservatism, Christianity, traditional marriage, the traditional family, freedom, individualism, pro-America, and many other values that in the past has made America great.

9 people like this
Posted by To Rotton Core
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 31, 2015 at 5:02 pm

For goodness sake, stop using states' rights already. That was used during slavery and was completely wrong. There's also something in the Constitution called the Elastic Clause, which allows the government to enact policies that are "necessary and proper". I think our failing standards in comparison to the rest of the world counts.

Next you will link the video of the woman from China who is running on the Libertarian ticket.

And this " Nevermind that info about America's Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution and will not be taught". Absolutely not true at all. Yes, the states are not agreeing on specific content standards in history. But it was mainly because some states refuse to teach specific content (such as Texas leaving Thomas Jefferson out of the history books). Web Link

1 person likes this
Posted by rotten core
a resident of Amador Estates
on Mar 31, 2015 at 8:04 pm

BTW "To...", I forgot to mention that CC also encourages students to seriously question whether the holocaust even occurred. It is the typical agenda of the anti-semite Left.

9 people like this
Posted by Jeff Bowser
a resident of West of Foothill
on Apr 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Jeff Bowser is a registered user.

I agree that the states should govern education and the feds should get out to the business. However, Common Core is NOT a Federal program. In fact it was the Governors and State Superintendents of Public Instruction, fed up with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB or ESEA) Act, that created a consortium to build a common curriculum and testing standards. We now have 44 states that opted in to the same baseline of minimum standards. Yes the Department of Education (Administrative Branch) did provide some seed funding because they could not get Congress to reauthorize ESEA. On the testing side, states may choose from two assessment consortias: Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). SBAC has 34 members and PARCC has 26 members with 11 belonging to both.

Background on NCLB: This federal program had the lofty idea to have all students 100% proficient by 2014, including measured sub-groups. NCLB allowed each state to make up their own standards as well as testing methodology. In 2001, 2014 seemed so far away and the politicians liked the idea to force reforms on schools. Flash forward to 2014 and all schools are in “program improvement” which potentially triggers a reduction in Federal funding. Fortunately, Pleasanton only receives a small amount of Federal funds. NCLB was not all bad because it kept districts accountable, through reporting, for measured improvement of all students including sub-groups: American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Black, White, Limited English Proficient, Special Education, and Migrant Students.

And no Common Core is not anti-semitic nor does is question the Holocaust.

1 person likes this
Posted by rotten core
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm

I have to correct you.

Here is one (of many) sources for the Holocaust reference above.

Web Link

(An excerpt of the above linked article is below for those who don't take time to click on the above link.)

The San Bernardino Sun reported on the lesson at the center of the controversy. Students in the eighth grade in the Rialto Unified School District were asked to hone their critical thinking skills by debating, in essay form, whether the Holocaust was ‘merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.’”

The district says the assignment is merely to teach students to evaluate the quality of evidence made by advocates or opponents of an issue.
“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence,” the assignment reads. “For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

Asking junior high students to prove that the Holocaust was real or was simply a made-up event for propaganda purposes is not critical thinking; it is anti-Semitic. The Anti-Defamation League spoke out about this inappropriate and hate based assignment. The associate regional director, Matthew Friedman, sent the following in an email to Rialto Unified’s interim school superintendent, Mohammad Z. Islam.

“An exercise asking students to question whether the Holocaust happened has no academic value; it only gives legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust denial. It is also very dangerous to ask junior high school students to question the reality of the Holocaust on their own, given the sheer volume of denial websites out there.

If these questions do come up, it’s better to show the huge preponderance of evidence that’s out there (testimony, documentation, death camp sites, archaeology, etc.) and to also question why people would question the reality of the Holocaust (many motivated not by historical curiosity, but by anti-Semitism). Also, who are the people questioning the Holocaust and what do real historians say? This is more of an issue of teaching good information literacy.”

Even worse, this anti-Semitic project was assigned during the unit focused on the “Diary of Anne Frank,” the story of a young girl who, along with her family, was a Jewish victim of the Holocaust.

Local news affiliate KTLA, channel 5, offered an even further look into the offensive nature of this assignment.

The 18-page assignment instructions included three sources that students were told to use, including one that stated gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and that no evidence has shown Jews died in gas chambers.

“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,” states the source, which is a attributed to a webpage on “In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”

The district claims that it received no complaints from parents , teachers, or students about the assignment, which encouraged students to question whether the Holocaust, the killing of 6 million Jews by the Hitler Nazi regime, between 1933 and 1945, really happened. They initially defended the assignment as simply one focused on critical thinking and research. District spokesman Syeda Jafri made a statement via email on behalf of the district.

“One of the most important responsibilities for educators is to develop critical thinking skills in students. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion. Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship. This thought process creates the foundation for a good education. The progression is within district board policy and also supports the district’s student inspired motto: ‘Today’s Scholars, Tomorrow’s Leaders.’”

After her adamant statement that actually admits that the assignment encouraged students to decide for themselves if the Holocaust truly happened, Jafri then offered a contradiction to the district’s stance.

“There is no doubt the Holocaust was one of the most horrific, traumatic time-pieces in our history,” she wrote in an emailed response Friday afternoon. “We want our students to engage in developing critical thinking skills and have an in-depth perspective on the importance of the Holocaust. Although I received one email last week in reference to this subject, the district has not received any concerns about this writing prompt from any teachers, administrators or parents. However, due to its sensitive nature, we are always open to go back and examine the prompt.”

As news about this assignment was spread around the country, people were not buying the district’s double speak about this controversial, anti-Semitic assignment. After defending the project for days, the district finally, under pressure, changed its tune and altered the assignment. On Monday, Jafri revised the district’s stance on the assignment stating, “This was a mistake. It should be corrected. It will be corrected. We all know it was real. The Holocaust is not a hoax. … I believe our classroom teachers are teaching it with sensitivity and compassion.”

Ms. Jafri, there is no sensitivity and compassion in encouraging young, impressionable minds to question whether the Holocaust was real and provide them with materials filled with vile, anti-Semitic, hate-based lies and ask if they believe it. The assignment was wrong and dangerous. Anti-Semites have been trying to rewrite history by stating that the Holocaust never happened and a school funded with taxpayer money just supported that twisted stance.

11 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Apr 1, 2015 at 8:20 pm

@rotten core

LOL! Providing a link to the "Tea Party News Network". OK, despite the source I gave the article a fair reading. First of all, how do you interpret this one event at one isolated junior high school as a condemnation of the entire CORE program? Do you think that individual teachers never made poor choices in choosing student essay assignments before CORE ever existed? I don't think so. Secondly, claiming that this assignment was "anti-Semetic" is a stretch. You have no evidence that the teacher was motivated by anti-Semitism or that the assignment is anti-Semetic in nature. Even the associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Matthew Friedman, who you quoted above doesn't call this assignment anti-Semetic. Rather, he says that it gives "legitimacy to the hateful and anti-Semitic promoters of Holocaust denial" , which I agree with, but nowhere does he say that the assignment itself is anti-Semetic or was motivated by anti-Semitism. The assignment appears to have been a well-meaning one intended to teach critical thinking skills, but was clearly an inappropriate assignment for 8th graders.

Sorry, but you're going to have to do better than to throw baseless and ridiculous accusations of "anti-Semitism" around to convince me that there is a problem with the CORE program.

3 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:25 am

I went to one of these. It was a sales pitch for CC. I had questions that remained unanswered. Like usual for these meetings. Made an effort - felt my time was deliberately wasted.

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Posted by West side Observer
a resident of Oak Hill
on Apr 2, 2015 at 12:48 pm

MOM They don't want you at the meetings. They hold them to appear open and transparent. By attending, you mess with their plans, which are to do whatever they want.

JEFF Please. The Department of Education extorted the states to join Common Core. Join or else…For many years, we have heard how great our schools are. People lied, cheated, and stole to get their South Bay kids into our schools. What changed? The curriculum was good? The testing was good? Our national, state, and Bay Area standing was exemplary. Why would we take a chance and replace what was apparently working with an untested curriculum?

ROTTEN Elitists have all the answers. And, only they can solve the problems. Elitists even create problems so that they can solve them. The education establishment is a prime example and I suspect Common Core was their solution in search of problem. Some say the problem was unequal outcomes and the Department of Education could supply the dollars to get to the solution. Given the climate in Washington, DC, I could buy into this theory. Some think that the IRS and HHS are taking over health care after they took over health insurance with their cronies. Some think the DOJ is taking over selected police departments. Some think the IRS, ATF, and the DOJ are taking over guns and ammo. Some think the EPA and BLM are taking over land use. Some think the DOJ is taking over private property with asset forfeiture. Some think the state is taking over housing decisions with affordable/workforce housing mandates. Some think the BAAQD is taking over your bbqs and fireplaces. In short, some think we are one gun barrel or IRS audit short of: to each according to his need, from each according to his ability. Some think Common Core is the Department of Education’s contribution to dumbing us down and anesthetize us enough not to inquire and to embrace their solutions. That’s what some say. Elitists say nay and mock the opposition with glib social media trolling. Will MOM, above, go to another meeting to seek answers to the questions that remain unanswered? If she does not, the trolls will have won by workshop overkill and/or intimidation. If she does, she might just be there all alone because much of the uproar over "20-step addition problems" has died down because we are worn down.

Common Core is a curriculum; a curriculum that might just be more anti-American than it is anti-Semitic. But, in either case, it is the first step in taking over the nation’s education. Pleasanton parents need more facts than the educrats are providing.

Lastly, if the curriculum was so bad it needed changing, we have been lied to over the years. Our realtors perpetuate the lie to sell our upper-end houses. If we were not lied to, why abandon a stellar curriculum and admirable test scores for an un-tested and possibly sinister curriculum? And, if it is so voluntary, we can go back to what worked pretty well next academic year.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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