December 5, 2021

The Common Core License: Open to Alteration by “Inner Circle” of Owners!

640px-Barack_Obama_through_the_pantry_door

 

The so-called Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are being billed as “Preparing America’s Students for Success“; as “important for your child”; indeed, as The American Education Solution:

The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. [Emphasis added.]

What if CCSS doesn’t work?

Who is responsible?

Not the copyright holders, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

Yes, these two groups formally get the credit for owning CCSS. Indeed, they insist upon it:

NGA Center/CCSSO shall be acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards, and no claims to the contrary shall be made. 

NGA and CCSSO insist that CCSS is theirs.

Funny how states across the nation are fighting over “keeping” or not “keeping” a CCSS that states are bound to but do not even really own.

It’s also funny how the NGA and CCSSO organizations “own” CCSS but the American public does not get to know the exact individuals behind such “ownership.”

Cloudy at the inner circle– just like CCSS development.

Despite the exact individuals running this CCSS copyright show, both NGA and CCSSO  insist that if CCSS doesn’t deliver, they cannot be held accountable. According to the license:

THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ARE PROVIDED AS-IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS, AND NGA CENTER/CCSSO MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS, IMPLIED, STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTIES OF TITLE, MERCHANTABILITY,FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, NON INFRINGEMENT, ACCURACY, OR THE PRESENCE OR ABSENCE OF ERRORS, WHETHER OR NOT DISCOVERABLE.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL NGA CENTER OR CCSSO, INDIVIDUALLY OR JOINTLY, BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES HOWEVER CA– — — USED AND ON ANY LEGAL THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER FOR CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR A COMBINATION THEREOF (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE — — — USE OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH RISK AND POTENTIAL DAMAGE. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, LICENSEE WAIVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK LEGAL REDRESS AGAINST, AND RELEASES FROM ALL LIABILITY AND COVENANTS NOT TO SUE, NGA CENTER AND CCSSO.

Got that? NGA and CCSSO get to overtly, directly, and intentionally bill CCSS as “ensuring” “what a student should know”– yet in doublespeak, NGA and CCSSO also maintain that they “make no representations or warranties of any kind.

There’s more.

CCSS and NGA “reserve the right” to alter the terms of the license as they wish:

NGA Center and CCSSO reserve the right to release the Common Core State Standards under different license terms…

Who is bound to any capricious change that NGA and CCSSO might make in the future to CCSS? According to the license:

ANY PERSON WHO EXERCISES ANY RIGHTS TO THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS THEREBY ACCEPTS AND AGREES TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE.

Let us consider some of the former drafts of the CCSS license. Here is an excerpt from the November 24, 2010 version:

Impermissible Uses:

The following are prohibited uses of the Common Core State Standards: (a)revising, including editing; (b) recasting, such as in the form of abridged or condensed versions, in a manner that, in the view of NGA Center and CCSSO,changes the meaning or intent of the Common Core State Standards or any part thereof; (c) sublicensing; (d) sale; (e) claiming of ownership, including copyright; (f) any use that may be prejudicial to the Common Core State Standards, NGA Center, or CCSSO; and (g) any use contrary to the express terms of this License. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Common Core State Standards may be included in larger works published by the Licensee, even if such larger works are sold or copyrighted by the Licensee.

(The same restriction is also part of the December 21, 2010January 23, 2011, and February 24, 2011 CCSS license versions. My thanks to Suzette Lopez for sending these links my way.)

That restriction would certainly dampen the current push to “rebrand” CCSS or to cosmetically alter CCSS (like Indiana is doing).

However, there is nothing stopping the CCSS copyright holders from mandating 100% CCSS adherence once, say, all current legislative sessions are ended.

That’s right: Laws passed regarding “modifying” CCSS can be made null by a change in CCSS copyright that requires 100% CCSS adherence.

Tricky, but NGA and CCSSO “own” CCSS. Never forget that.

Let’s consider another sinister possibility due to this copyright.

On March 31, 2o14, I wrote a post in which I discussed the issue of CCSS curriculum regulation (including the possibility of a CCSS regulatory agency) on the horizon. It seems that on March 6, 2014, members of the Brookings Institute suggested the following:

The Common Core (meaning NGA and CCSSO) should vigorously enforce their licensing agreement. In the past textbook writers and others have inappropriately claimed that they aligned course content. Supporters of standards based reform should recognize that low quality content could sink the standards and enforce their copyright accordingly.

Let us not forget that proponents of CCSS have repeatedly noted that CCSS is “not a curriculum.” Technically, they would still be able to say as much even if NGA and CCSSO expand their dictatorial reach and require that curriculum be submitted for their review prior to earning some CCSS “seal of approval.”

NGA and CCSSO could alter *their* CCSS copyright to require their approval of curricular materials used in school districts across the nation.

CCSS is all about sameness, for sameness can be mass produced and rake in phenomenal dolares for contemporary education profiteers.

Sameness is important for making money.

Some CCSS proponents, like Springfield, Missouri, school board member Annie Busch, call this sameness “consistency.”

Here is how “consistency” works:

Keep CCSS the same. (If CCSS veers, then enforce sameness via copyright duress.)

Keep the curriculum the same. (This way, the market is not state-specific; instead, the market is nationwide.)

Keep the tests the same. (NGA and CCSSO curriculum “oversight” is only one step away from CCSS test “oversight.)

While we’re at it, have NGA and CCSSO include data collection requirements as part of the CCSS “agreement” with the CCSS “owners.”

Does this sound far fetched?

States that “choose to retain” CCSS (loosely defined since stakeholders have never been in the driver’s seat of this car) will continue to fight off such standardization pressures.

Keep your eyes open for it.

And do not be fooled by articles like this State Impact piece in which Achieve, “a nonprofit that helped develop the standards” (uh huh) tries to tell the public that states with CCSS can make unlimited changes and that the CCSS copyright is to “protect the rights of the states that developed them.”

The “owners” of CCSS (whoever the inner circle “owners” might be) meant for this venture to indefinitely yield fat fiscal returns.

RELATED VIDEO: This video courtesy of Utahns Against Common Core shows a series of ELA books by Zaner-Bloser with a core theme that is not literature and writing. It is social justice activism for ages 6 and up.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is of President Barack Obama seen through a door to the pantry near the State Dining Room of the White House as he waits to meet with the National Governors Association on 25 February 2013.

 

About the author /

Mercedes Schneider

 

I am first and foremost a teacher. I have been formally teaching in some capacity for the past 22 years. However, my first “student” was my younger sister, Anna, whom I taught to read when she was four years old and I was seven. That was in 1974. I am a product of the St. Bernard Parish Public Schools (1972-85). I attended P.G.T. Beauregard High School, where I graduated salutatorian. In 1983, at fifteen years old, I tried to drop out of high school. I’m glad I stayed. I attended Louisiana State University from 1985 to 1991 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, English and German. I taught for two years in St. Bernard, my home; then, I moved to Georgia and taught German (1993-94) and English (1994-98) for Rome City Schools. While teaching full time, I earned my masters degree in guidance and counseling from the State University of West Georgia (1996-98). While working on my masters degree, I became interested in counselor education. I applied to the Ph.D. program in counselor education at Auburn University and was rejected because I “did not compare favorably to other applicants.” I framed that letter and kept it in my office at Ball State; years later, I was able to use it as an encouragement for my students who came to me in tears at receiving doctoral program rejection letters. It hurts, but press on. I was accepted to the counselor education program at the University of Northern Colorado in 1998, and they gave me money to attend. (The Auburn rejection didn’t hurt so much then.) I began my Ph.D. in counselor education but decided I liked all of those stats courses well enough to ask to transfer to the Department of Applied Statistics and Research Methods two years in, in February 2000. I graduated with my Ph.D. in applied statistics and research methods, with a counselor education concentration, in August 2002. Following my time in Colorado, I moved to Muncie, Indiana, to teach in the Department of Educational Psychology, Teachers College, at Ball State University. I taught graduate-level statistics and research courses, except for one undergraduate course I taught, Tests and Measurement. It was in this course that I had to address issues related to No Child Left Behind. It was in this course that I taught students how bad an idea it was to attempt to measure teacher performance using student standardized test scores. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed my home, New Orleans. My mother chose not to evacuate and had to axe her way out of my sister’s attic. She was missing for a week and ended up in Houston. It was a while before she knew that she would not have to have her right arm amputated. Even though there was no home to go to, I wanted to go home to New Orleans. It took me two years to plan and reorganize my life for my return to southern Louisiana. In July 2007, I returned home and began a new job teaching high school English in St. Tammany Parish. I was told at the university that to “go back” to public school teaching was frowned upon and that I would not likely be able to resume a careeer teaching at the university level if I chose to replace it with a public school position. I had to reckon with that idea. But I love to teach. High school, I decided, would be fine with me. And it has been fine for the past seven years. I love my kids. I dedicate this blog to my St. Tammany students and to the thousands of students I have taught over the years, students of all ages, chiefly from grade seven to graduate-level, beginning with my little sister, Anna.

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