Data madness versus childhood wonder, or why should you want to 'Reflect a Birth through Grade 3 continuum that incorporates the Common Core State Standards'...... Vermont Won a RTTT Early Childhood Grant & I'm As Mad As Hell

Vermont provides a good example of how Race to the Top Money comes at very high cost -- to children and to democracy (and to taxpayers, who have promised to add $62 million to the $37 million government grant). It's the same fiscal deal as No Child Left Behind but with an even higher cost to young children.

Who stands for childhood?

Children's book.What Pre-K Kids Have Learned from Picture Books Without Government Alignment, Scrutiny and Data Collection

Frolic1 Daydream2 Stargaze3 Birdwatch4 Make Music5 Explore6 Tickle a pizza7 Don't let the pigeon drive the bus8 Eat green eggs and ham9 Love tacos10 Smell the flowers11 Roar your terrible roars13 Stop and smell the strawberries13 Stop the traffic14 Slide in mud and yell doodleedoodleedoo15 Gather sun rays16 Dig17 Practice handstands18 Plant a carrot seed19 Take a big purple crayon20 Accessorize21 Dance everywhere22 Whirl faster and faster23 Sit down24

NOTES: 1 Tootle, Gertrude Crampton 2 I Can Fly, Ruth Krauss 3 The Friendly Book, Margaret Wise Brown 4 I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom 5 Musicians of Bremen, illustrated by J. P. Miller 6 The Sailor Dog, Margaret Wise Brown 7 Pete's a Pizza,William Steig 8 Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems 9 Eat Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss 10 Dragons Love Tacos, Adam Rubin 11 Ferdinand, Munro Leaf 12 Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak 13 Pokey Little Puppy, Jeanette Sebring Lowry 14 Make Way for Ducklings,Robert McCloskey 15 A Hole is to Dig, Ruth Krauss 16Frederick, Leo Leonni 17 Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel, Virginia Lee Burton 18 George & Martha: Tons of Fun, James Marshall 19 The Carrot Seed,Ruth Krauss 20 Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson 21 Olivia Saves the Circus, Ian Falconer 22Angelina Ballerina, Katherine Holabird 23 Whistle for Willie, Ezra Jack Keats 24 David Goes to School, David Shannon

How Vermont Promises to Spend Its $37 (+$62) Million Race to the Top Grant on Pre-K To Improve School Readiness and Train Global Workforce

*Develop productive people1 *Provide a focused PreK curriculum1 *Reflect a Birth through Grade 3 continuum that incorporates the Common Core State Standards1 *Offer investment to promote resiliency1 *Ensure meaningful workforce development1 *Stop risky [drug] behavior in earliest years1 *Articulate the expectations of what 3-5 year olds know and can do1 *Measure outcomes to ensure consistency across communities1 *Incorporate early literacy and early numeracy competencies1 *Initiate procurement of a data system development firm1 *Provide evidence-based home visiting system1 *Strengthen parenting skills1 *Coordinate integrated 21st century early learning data system1 *Expand access to evidence informed learning opportunities aligned with the State's workforce and competency framework1 *Monitor data gaps, assuring data integrity, and monitoring traffic metrics and outcome patterns1 *Implement state-of-the-art early childhood data collection system1 *Use kindergarten readiness data to inform policies and practices prior to kindergarten1 *Provide national PreK-Grade 3 organization to train data collectors to collect Snapshot data reliably1 *Verify that the new Vermont Early Learning Standards are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and reflect a continuum of development and learning from infancy through grade 31 *Use Daily Activity Assessment Tools to assess apprentices' skills in common daily tasks, such as engaging a child in conversation1 *Use Results Based Accountability model that looks at measured data over time and asks if the trend is acceptable1 *Data collection & Common Core alignment Data collection & Common Core alignment Data collection & Common Core alignment Data collection & Common Core alignment Data collection & Common Core alignment Data collection & Common Core alignment Data collection & Common Core alignment Data collection & Common Core alignment1 1 RTT-ELC Application for Funding [CFDA 84.412A] Proposal and State Plan

All phrases come from RTT-ELC Application for Funding [CFDA 84.412A] Proposal and State Plan


February 24, 2014 at 5:03 PM

By: Kathy Jacobs

Have Any of These Ed Reformers Ever Gone to School?

Susan, you are just spot on! The pure joy that children experience when listening to Don\'t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is value enough. When did learning become something other than the joy of acquiring new info? If any education reformers would ever get out of their committee meetings and sit in a classroom and watch a teacher read a book like this to a group, even as old as 8, they might observe the teaching/learning process. Kids comment, teachers question, all discuss,and links to life are made.\r\rAnd you know what? Ed reformers know that when they went to school they weren\'t coordinating, aligning, or reflecting on anything for the federal government. They were on a path to becoming contributing adults who could enjoy life because of a teacher.

February 25, 2014 at 8:35 PM

By: Susan Ohanian

children's books


Ha. You stress critical point: a kid's joy of acquiring new info in a book like 'Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.' Common Core architect David Coleman insists on the importance of a phony category of Informational Text, as though fiction weren't "informational." Although I love kids' picture books, my own reading habits tend toward nonfiction-- but I know in my soul that no text gets more "informational" than Moby Dick.

February 26, 2014 at 5:23 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Moby Dick as the ultra American 'Info Text'

Thanks, Susan, for mentioning Moby Dick. I was privileged to teach it for a couple of years to sophomores (then, "U.S. Literature") at a Chicago general high school -- Amundsen in the 1980s and early 1990s. My lessons always taught the story as a conflict between a crazy American antagonist (Ahab, whose biblical roots needed little elaboration once they had been understood by the kids) and Moby Dick, the protagonist. Once the students understood that Ahab had murdered the whales wife and children, the revenge sage was easy to learn. But in order to do that, the students had to actually read and think about "all that whale stuff," which was often left out by "bottom line" simpletons who wanted to get to the "main idea" of the novel.

The tragedies in the novel are many, of course, most importantly the tragedy of Moby Dick and his species, under assault by a country (the USA) that had an obscene obsession with their "bottom line" (of the time) and no values beyond that perverted perspective.

An added and wonderful perspective, of course, was provided by "Mariners, Renegades and Castaways" seeing the crew of the Pequod as symbolic of the mongrol greatness of the working class of the USA.

Over time, I was even able to get a video of an old hand-rowed whale boat so the kids could understand what an amazing job it was to work with Ishmael and the harpooners out there. And that still didn't undermine the greatness of the whale and his brothers and sisters.

Finally, it was really funny when the kids "got" some of Melville's more clever jokes. One of my favorite was the chapter entitled "The Cassock." Once the kids realized, one by one, that whales are mammals, they "got it." And then with little more prodding (no pun), they also understood how the "cassock" considered an early investigative expose of abuse by priests.

February 26, 2014 at 10:17 AM

By: Sharon Schmidt

Reading books they choose is a joy, the opposite of high-stakes testing

Hundreds of children this year are going to enjoy and learn through literature at school this year during ISAT testing when they opt out of the tests.

Our 9-year-old Josh says he can't wait for the ISAT so he can read for more than an hour everyday in school. He does feels sorry for the children who will be taking the tests � like this girl whose mom emailed me last night:

"The testing is killing her spirit and she is a complete mess thinking she is going to bomb ISAT and fail. I wish I would have known sooner as she would not have gone through all this stress and had her spirit broken! She seen the MAP scores and noticed she went down not up and is having a self esteem problem at only 12 years old! I just want to know what she HAS to take for the rest of the year because I need to fix my broken child."

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

4 + 5 =