Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

November 25, 2013

CONFER: An introduction to the Common Core

Niagara Gazette — EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in an eight-part series exploring the Common Core.

One of the hottest issues of the last half of 2013 has been Common Core. I’m sure you’ve read or watched numerous reports about how parents and teachers are fired up about the latest and allegedly greatest attempt to redefine education and develop a world-class workforce and well versed society.

These stories abound because conflict sells newspapers and airtime. Just think about the brouhaha over New York State Education Commissioner John King having originally abandoned his statewide speaking tour after one event.

While we’ve been inundated with such reports, a great disservice has been done to the parents whose children will be educated under these new standards, taxpayers who are funding public schools and the employers who need them to produce a quality finished product. We haven’t been told what exactly the activists are so mad about.

Sure, we can sense the passion and urgency in their protests, but what good does that do us?

You would be hard pressed to find a newspaper or TV news broadcast or talk radio show that gives its customers even a perfunctory lesson in what Common Core is all about.

So, over the next couple of months, this column will do what others have failed to do and offer a breakdown of the various components of Common Core.

Here’s what you can expect in coming installments:

• What is Common Core?

• The Standards of Common Core (two parts)

• Data-mining your kids

• Bringing the police state to the classroom 

• Common Core’s impact on school districts 

• Who benefits from Common Core?

As I develop this series, I welcome input from teachers who are appalled by Common Core as I am, so that we can emphasize how the new system is affecting classrooms here and now.

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Bob Confer
  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

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  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug 040214 CONFER: Tax refunds are no reason to be happy A strange thing tends to happen this time of year: taxpayers who should be damning the government end up praising it. These brainwashed souls, numbering in the millions, feel rewarded by what appears to be government benevolence in the form of a tax refund, failing to realize that they are getting back only a little of the money that was rightfully theirs to begin with.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Russia on the right side of Crimea issue I don't like Russia. Never have. Probably never will.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: State's foot-dragging aggravates our energy woes I don't have to tell you that it's been a miserable winter in the northeast. We've been battered by an array of winter storms, from Polar Vortices to blizzards, and a seemingly endless barrage of below-average temperatures.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Veterans tax exemptions making school boards uneasy School boards eyeing the new, optional veterans tax exemption in New York State face perilous choices: Who do you please? Who do you offend? Veterans or the majority of taxpayers?

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug [Duplicate] CONFER: The importance of Boy Scouts in America What do Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, and William DeVries have in common?

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • • Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Move New York's primaries to June In 2009, the federal government passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which mandated that the states have federal absentee ballots in the hands of overseas military personnel at least 45 days before an election, to ensure that their completed ballots could be received by local boards of elections in a timely fashion.

    February 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: New York state could soon tax the scouts These are interesting times in New York, as we have a governor and a state legislature touting various reform packages that are expected to drop some tax rates after years of steady tax growth. It comes at a time when those same parties are testing the waters for even more public services such as universal pre-kindergarten.

    February 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: State bill would mandate parenting classes S142-2013, under review by the state Senate education committee now, would require parents of elementary school age children to attend parent support programs and workshops, including one concerning abuse in its various forms. If they didn't, their kids wouldn't be allowed to enter seventh grade.

    January 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: Opening the gates to Common Core For many, Bill Gates â€" he of the $67 billion net worth â€" is looked at as a hero for American education. Through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has invested millions in the development and introduction of the Common Core standards, the latest and allegedly greatest remodeling of teaching as we knew it.

    January 20, 2014 1 Photo

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