Jan 6, 2013 by

Linda_Hammond_DarlingLinda Darling-Hammond and Bill Ayers are closely associated with Columbia Teachers’ College where the social justice agenda is heavily enmeshed throughout the College.

1.6.13 — Info. on Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, Lucy Calkins, CSCOPE, Common Core Standards – from Donna Garner:

Linda Darling-Hammond is listed in CSCOPE materials (Ector County ISD website) as one of those who developed CSCOPE.  Darling-Hammond is Obama’s education consultant who helped to establish the parameters for the Common Core Standards and is shaping the national assessment.

Both Darling-Hammond and Bill Ayers have close ties with each other. Darling-Hammond is the past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and Bill Ayers was elected in 2008 as the vice-president of the curriculum division of AERA:   (  ) and

( ).

Linda Darling-Hammond and Bill Ayers are closely associated with Columbia Teachers’ College where the social justice agenda is heavily enmeshed throughout the College.  Lucy Calkins, a proponent of the discredited whole language method, is constantly highlighted at CSCOPE meetings and on CSCOPE websites; and Calkins is also heavily associated with Columbia Teachers’ College.

Here is the link to Bill Ayers’ bio:

Here is a link to a 2 minute, 48 second YouTube in which Ayers explains how he plans to take over America through public school classrooms:

Donna Garner


“Obama’s Linda Darling-Hammond and Her Failed School”

by Donna Garner



Early in Obama’s presidency, it looked as if he was going to appoint Linda Darling-Hammond as his Secretary of Education.  Instead, Obama decided to empower Darling-Hammond to complete the federal takeover of the public schools by authorizing her to help develop the national tests (i.e., assessments).  These assessments are the centerpiece in Obama’s plan to put the federal government in charge of what gets taught each day to public school students.


By having national standards, national curriculum, national assessments, and a national database tying students’ scores directly to teachers’ pay and longevity, teachers will be forced to teach their students whatever is in the national standards and on the national assessments.


Today we see that Linda Darling-Hammond’s approach to education has failed.  The school she founded in California is to be closed because of low test scores and lack of significant improvement.

A similar charter school (Aspire) in the same district focused on academics; Darling-Hammond’s school focused on project-based learning, subjective assessments, portfolios, and  “students’ emotional and social lives.”


Aspire has succeeded; Linda Darling-Hammond’s school has failed.

An education expert at Stanford told me recently:


Let me repeat for everyone that the Charter School that Stanford runs and Linda Darling-Hammond heads up is one of the 188 schools on the California failing schools list.  It has been in existence for 6 years and has used all the most highly recommended Ed School teaching techniques like authentic assessments, group learning, and discovery.



Here is the link to today’s story:



Posted below is an article from, 2.23,10, that tells how Linda Darling-Hammond, supported by Obama, has been chosen to help develop the new national tests that will facilitate the complete takeover by the federal government of the public schools (all except for Texas and Alaska who refused to participate in Common Core Standards and Race to the Top).


Linda Darling-Hammond wants the national assessments to rely heavily on the same type of “authentic assessments, group learning, and discovery” that have caused her own charter school to flounder.


I have added my own comments in brackets [  ] to the EdWeek article.


Published Online: February 23, 2010

Experts Lay Out Vision for Future Assessments

By Catherine Gewertz



A group of high-powered policymakers and educators gathered here yesterday to build support for a new vision of educational assessment that is less a snapshot of students’ one-time performance and more like good instruction itself.

Led by Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, a panel of experts outlined a comprehensive system that includes summative and formative tests of higher-order thinking skills, reflecting a marketplace that they say places increasing value on such skills.


[“Summative and formative tests” is another term for high-stakes, subjectively scored tests based upon the value system of the evaluator — a very disturbing way to evaluate students in this day and age of multiculturalism, political correctness, diversity, and social engineering. — Donna Garner]


They urged a move away from of multiple-choice tests that demand factual recall, toward the development of a set of deeper, more analytical questions, tasks, and projects that ask students to solve and discuss complex problems. One example is a problem that has been posed to Connecticut high school students: Figure out how to build a statue that could withstand the effects of acid rain, then describe, analyze, and discuss your findings.


[The question looks enticing, but just how would this question be scored?  With multiple-choice questions that are either right or wrong, the end score is much more accurate for comparing state-to-state, school-to-school, student-to-student.


On the other hand, questions based upon a rubric depend a great deal upon the opinion of the evaluator; and opinions differ from person to person.


Because Common Core Standards, national tests, national curriculum, and a national database definitely fall within the definition of “high-stakes testing,” it should scare parents to death to think that their child’s future will be based upon the “opinion” of some unknown evaluator.


I have been through the training for essay and open-ended responses (i.e., examples of subjectively scored test items), and I can tell you that it is very difficult to get two scorers to come up with the very same score.  No matter how explicit the scoring rubric is, people have different opinions, experiences, and expectations.


Not only are subjective assessments open to indecisiveness, but they are also much more expensive to score.  Are taxpayers going to want to pay higher taxes just so their students’ tests can be scored in a subjective way?  — Donna Garner]


Such assessments, Ms. Darling-Hammond said, can be “of, for, and as learning.” They can “embody” content standards, she said, not just approximate them. Because teachers would help create and score the assessments, and the assessments would be pegged to good-quality content standards, an aligned teaching-and-learning system would take shape that would help teachers adjust instruction in real time and help district and state administrators plot longer-term education strategy, the experts said.


Common Standards


The portrait of assessment, fleshed out in a paper by Ms. Darling-Hammond that draws on assessment practices in the United States and abroad, was presented at a discussion organized by two Washington-based groups, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They have enlisted the support of 48 states [except for Texas and Alaska] to devise common content standards designed to ensure college and career readiness.


The common standards are an “essential” but “inadequate” step toward improving education, said Gene Wilhoit, the CCSSO’s executive director. They must be accompanied by improved assessment, new types of curriculum, and better teacher preparation and professional development, he said. Dane Linn, who oversees the common-standards work for the NGA, said a vital part of next-generation assessments is the role they must play in learning. “The assessments we end up with have to inform instruction,” he said. If they don’t change educators’ practice, he said, “then what good are they?”


Even though they are still in draft form, the common standards have garnered the support of President Barack Obama, who has offered a better shot at $4 billion in Race to the Top Fund economic-stimulus money to states that embrace them.


This week, the president proposed tying Title I education dollars to adoption of those or other standards validated as rigorous enough to ensure college readiness. A special $350 million pot of Race to the Top Fund money is reserved for the development of common assessments. Six groups, or “consortia,” of states, proposing differing approaches to assessment, have formed to compete for that money. In a private meeting after yesterday’s panel discussion, leaders of those consortia met at the CCSSO’s office to discuss ways they might work together on summative assessments. (“States Rush to Join Testing Consortia,” Feb. 3, 2010.)


In one more potent public symbol of the administration’s support for common standards and assessments, the top education adviser in the White House, Roberto Rodriguez, appeared at the panel discussion and urged states to use the $350 million to build “transformative” assessment systems.


As Congress begins reconsidering the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with the first hearing scheduled this week, Mr. Rodriguez said the administration views college and career readiness as a key objective in that legislation, but that aim requires revamped systems of assessment, professional development, and accountability.


Offering a glimpse of the White House’s priorities, he said that a good assessment system will measure individual student growth over time, include multiple measures of achievement, and provide summative information to inform both instruction and state and district policy. It will also integrate results into data systems to guide instruction and be well-integrated with curriculum and professional development.


Inseparable Pieces


Robert L. Linn, a widely respected authority on assessment who spoke on the panel, said that in designing new assessments, it is important to think of them as inseparable parts of systems that include the conception of standards and curriculum. If those are fused, he said, teachers can avoid the worst versions of “teaching to the test” because the tests are actually sound reflections of what the teachers know is important. “The test is bigger and closer to what you care about,” said Mr. Linn, a distinguished professor emeritus of education at the University of Colorado-Boulder.


[How long has it been since Mr. Linn and all the rest of these supposed “experts” have taught real kids in real classrooms?  Texas has already tried teaching broad, generic, inexplicit, non-grade-level specific standards (1997-2008); and it did not work.  The very same people and organizations that are presently behind the national standards and tests were the same people and organizations that pressured Texas into adopting their doomed plan in 1997.


For ten years, our Texas students and teachers wandered around in a frustrated daze because they were confused and did not know what it was that they were supposed to teach and learn.


When the TAKS tests came along in 2003, then the only thing that teachers could cling to for direction was the tests themselves; and that is why they started “teaching to the test.”


The Common Core Standards with their subjectively scored assessments (as recommended by Linda Darling-Hammond) is the same failed system that Texas had from 1997 – 2008.  Texas learned its lesson the hard way, and our state is now on the way to real education reform through new-and-well-written explicit standards and tests that are largely objectively scored.  For good reason, Texas and Alaska have chosen not to participate in the doomed Common Core Standards/Race to the Top plan. — Donna Garner]


Another member of the panel, Edward Roeber, an adjunct professor of education, measurement, and quantitative methods at Michigan State University’s college of education, said new assessments must be paired with revamped teacher preparation. Part of studying to become a teacher must be learning how to use formative assessment in the classroom to guide instruction, and few teachers now receive that training, he said.


Mr. Roeber also addressed a key area of interest among those monitoring the debate about new assessments: the price tag. His work on a soon-to-be-published study will show, he said, that if 30 states work together to design assessments systems that embody the qualities panelists were discussing, they could be crafted for about the same cost as what states spend now on tests used for the current version of the ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act, a figure Ms. Darling-Hammond put at $1.4 billion per year.


[I do not believe you can take a spoiled apple, sugar-coat it, and expect it to taste unspoiled.  Nor do I believe that subjectively scored assessments can be graded inexpensively.  My common sense tells me that it is much cheaper and faster to run a student’s objectively scored test through a Scantron machine than it would be to train and hire evaluators to read slowly and carefully through millions of student responses.


If test-makers really want to test comprehensive, higher-order thinking skills, multiple-choice questions can be carefully designed that require deep thought yet have right-or-wrong answers.


I well remember one professor whose college exams demonstrated his mastery at developing very difficult questions that required much thinking on my part, yet these questions had right-or-wrong answers.  Surely these testing companies to whom the taxpayers pay billions of dollars can come up with objectively scored questions that will evaluate a student’s ability to think deeply. — Donna Garner]


Vol. 29, Issue 23


Donna Garner


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