Russia’s Commitment to Common Core Curriculum

Posted: January 10, 2015 in Society and Culture

You might think that America is the only country where Liberals are instituting the Common Core educational standard?

You’d be wrong as Russia is instituting the same curriculum and recently some Russian news sources have been laying the ground work of denegrating its citizens to promote the need for a ‘revolution in education’ to stem the tide of so-called dropping IQ’s etc.

This same format is done by American Liberals that simply want a dumb-down labor force that won’t question State power.


Russian 7th graders struggle to count and solve math problems, says study
Experts attempt to explain shocking results of nationwide assessment. Source: TASS

Russia’s first ever large-scale study of mathematical knowledge among 5th-7th graders has confirmed concerns over pupils’ ability to count and solve math problems. According to the shocking results of the study, pupils “do not know how to count, how to solve text-based tasks, geometric and other kinds of problems, and how to work with information.”

It was the first time that pupils in Russian schools had undergone such large-scale assessment in mathematics. At the end of October, 5th-7th graders in 500 schools, in 70 Russian regions took the test, organized by the National Study of Education Quality (NIKO).

According to the study, the ability levels of 20-50 percent of the students (depending on the region – RBTH) “are insufficient to continue education in mathematics and the natural sciences.”

The results of the study say that, without addressing the gaps in these students’ knowledge, a significant part of lessons taught in the higher grades will be ineffectual and the students will not even be able to pass the high school EGE finals, a standardized state exam.

Sergei Lando, head of the Mathematical Faculty at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, believes that general school education is facing genuine problems, though “the real news,” says Lando, “is that we have received a more or less exact estimate of this disaster for the first time.”

Lando says that mass checks were carried out in Soviet times, but their results were never made public and were never discussed, neither in the press nor in professional circles. Now, he explains, we are “slowly forming an idea, an idea that is close to reality, of what the middle schools are teaching, what they are able to teach and what they don’t teach even though they should.”

Why this problem?

Mathematics is taught in schools between grades 1 and 11. From first to sixth grade (7-12-year olds) it is a single subject; from seventh to 11th grade (13-16-year olds) it is divided into algebra and analysis, geometry, information and physics. It is essential to pass the mathematics GIA exam to enter 10th grade and to pass the EGE finals in order to graduate from high school.

Many general education schools have classes with more in-depth mathematical preparation. There are also schools specializing in physics and mathematics, as well as high schools where scholastic programs greatly differ from general education schools and help students enter math faculties at high-level universities, such as the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University (26th according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities in Mathematics 2014), without additional preparation.

“I think that the root to this [the 5th-7th graders’ problems with mathematics – RBTH] lies in the mathematics taught in elementary schools, including the complicated situation with the quality of the textbooks, problems with teachers and the extreme dedication to various reforms, such as the predominance of tests,” says Vitaly Arnold, an IT teacher at the Moscow Southwest 1543 High School and director of the Moscow Center for Continuous Mathematical Education.

“For example,” says Arnold, “several years ago certain ‘experts’ began teaching in schools that 2 x 3 is not the same as 3 x 2. That is, to the question “if 2 lumps of sugar are placed into each of 3 cups, how much sugar is used?” the answer is obviously 6 lumps. The equation 2 x 3 = 6 is correct, but the equation 3 x 2 is incorrect, because (in the opinion of those, I’m not afraid to use this term, pests) its answer involves cups, not lumps of sugar.”

According to Sergei Lando, “the ability to count is an ability that should be developed in elementary school and the fact that students enter middle school without this ability says that these skills are not developed at an elementary level.”

Should ratings be trusted?

There are several international ratings that measure student skills. One of the most prestigious is the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is carried out once every three years.

According to the 2012 PISA rating, Russian high school students (PISA assesses 15-year olds) occupy 34th place out of 65 for reading, mathematics and science. However, Lando says that PISA’s approach to evaluating mathematical knowledge “raises significant doubts.”

Arnold, meanwhile, has at least three grievances against the PISA tests. Firstly, “the complete versions of the assignments remain a secret after the end of the assessment and the examples do not present a full idea,” he says.

Secondly, he explains, “when asked ‘Who is responsible for the mistakes in the contents of the assignments?’ or ‘Have any of the expert mathematicians looked at these versions?’ the organization remains silent.”

He also adds that the organizers “do not react to substantial criticism from highly qualified and interested experts,” pointing to analysis of IQ tests as an example.



Russians read ever less, reading stuff gets more primitive

December 29, 2014

© TASS/Yuri Smityuk

Lyudmila Alexandrova

MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Most Russians still like to read a book now and then, but nearly a third say they “read practically nothing”. The advent of the Internet and the overall slump in the general level of culture amid the “realities of wild capitalism” have caused huge harm to the peoples’ reading habits, who back in the USSR were considered as the most reading nation in the world. The quality of the books the general public reads is dwindling and hard copies as such are vanishing from people’s lives.

Over the past five years Russian people have begun to read less, but at the same time to use the Internet as a source of reading stuff far more often, an opinion poll by the national public opinion studies center VTSIOM has found. Whereas before 27% of the polled said they never read books, in 2014 the rate has been up to 27%.

Nearly half of the polled — 48% said — they liked to read. One in three Russians buys books and magazines at bookstores and from second-hand vendors. And only one in ten sometimes resorts to the services of public libraries in their hometown.

The Moscow government’s plan for pay night-time visits to city libraries is close to failure. Over the past year not a single person has turned to any of the 700 municipal libraries in Moscow for a reader’s card.

Whereas before Russians preferred to read hard-cover novels, these days they tend to buy paperback pocketbook editions. The publishers’ main emphasis these days is on standard, serial products.

“The publishers have been in alarm for the past five to ten years. Many have gone bankrupt. Hard copies are being phased out from everyday life and books representing only a very short list of genres are still present on the market,” author Leonid Kaganov told the Kommersant FM radio station.

The quality of mass-consumed literature has been changing, too. Another VTSIOM poll has found that Russians have once again named Darya Dontsova, woman author of “ironic detective stories,” still being published in half a million copies, as the author of the year. True, Dontsova emerged the winner with just 4% of the votes, but all the other authors received far less than 1%.

The love novel, police story, thriller, history novel (to be more precise, adventure novel with no traces of historical authenticity) and cheap fantasy books have topped the rankings of readers’ preferences for the past decade, the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta quotes sociologists Nina Seliverstova and Nataliya Yumahseva as saying. “The latest changes boil down to this: transition from science fiction to fantasy and the domination of serial products very close in format to TV soap operas…” the experts said after polling students at Moscow’s universities.

“These days the reader of good quality books, of “serious” literature, and not mass-produced surrogates, is very rare,” author Denis Dragunsky told the online resource “I am referring to literature that has inherited the traditions of Russian and European classics of the 19th and 20th centuries. Literature that raises important spiritual, emotional intellectual and social problems.”

Any good novel these days is printed in two thousand copies, three thousand at the most, and even this amount sometimes proves too big. “True, exceptions do occur once in a while, but they are very rare.”



Russia’s Own Common Core: Russia’s Education System Is Moving Slowly toward Output-Based National Standards Similar to the Common Core in the U.S. the Next Task: Getting Teachers Ready (Excerpt)

Lenskaya, Elena, Phi Delta Kappan

Almost a quarter of a century has passed since the fall of the Soviet empire. The Soviet Union had taken pride in its educational system. Kindergarten for 90% of 3- to 6-year-olds cost less than 5% of an average family income, and students had access to 10 years of mandatory public schooling for all–four years in primary school, four in lower secondary, and two in upper secondary. It offered free higher education for 5 million students annually and was an almost perennial winner in the international math and science Olympiad. At the same time, the system faced challenges. Its education system was too centralized, and it discouraged diversity of values; the national curriculum was too rigid and prescriptive, not just in what to teach but also in how to teach. Teachers had to follow very detailed manuals, and any deviation resulted in a penalty by inspectors.

Yet, most of the public seemed to agree that such rigidity was necessary to guarantee high-quality school outcomes. This is why changes introduced after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s were targeted at diversifying the education system, including allowing teachers to choose a mode of delivery and allowing ethnic regions to add some new content, like their ethnic language and history within the limits of the inherited core curriculum. As Stephen Heinemann wrote in 1995:

This uniformity of supply was exacerbated by the uniformity in educational philosophy. Pedagogy was standardized, curriculum was undifferentiated. In some instances, there were even laws making it illegal for teachers to use nonstandardized books and materials. Variety was assumed to be a sign of inequality The problem with this policy is that a school system is not a factory. (p. 37)

A wakeup call

The country saw the need for systemwide standards reform when Russia finished 14th among 21 participants in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 1995. Some education experts expressed concern that Russian students mostly managed to master the curriculum’s knowledge base but that they had difficulty transferring this knowledge within and between disciplines. Russian policy makers countered that the TIMSS exams were unfair because they tested concepts that neither Russian students nor teachers had been given the opportunity to prepare for.

The 2000 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results were even more discouraging: Russia was at the bottom of the league table and below the average for participating countries.

This time, policy makers started paying attention. In 2001, the federal government adopted new policy guidelines for modernizing Russian education by introducing competence-based school curriculum that emphasized outcome-based school standards and core skills over rote memorization.

Unlike the United States, where each state can have its own standards, Russia inherited a Soviet-era school framework that required its 83 regions to use the same standards. But after 1991, when Russia became a sovereign state, they allowed regions to compose 20% of their prescribed content. Those federal standards, with a regional component, emphasized factual knowledge and were mostly input-based. They specified the content and the number of contact hours to be taught. They said nothing about what students should know by the end of their schooling and very little about skills and competencies of school leaders. As a result, teachers rarely paid attention to developing knowledge transfer skills in their students. The Russian curriculum developers who created the new school standards in the early 2000s were skeptical of the competency-based approach to learning and refused to believe the TIMSS and PISA data. As a consequence, the first draft of the skills-based, outputs-focused standards contained 467 generic skills. Disciplinary teams competed to identify new skills, leading to teacher confusion over how to implement the standards (Dneprov, 2004).….



The Common Core: What Does it Mean for Students?

Nina Dubinsky

Director of Curriculum at Russia School of Mathematics

The Common Core State Standards specify minimal requirements of math and language arts knowledge at the end of each grade.

If adopted across the country and implemented successfully, the math standards will allow us to expect, for example, that every student will fluently add and subtract within 100 after the second grade; add, subtract, multiply, and divide positive and negative numbers as well as fractions and decimals after the sixth grade – and so on.  If students move to different states, they will be able to pick up where they left off.

The Good:

Teachers will be able to teach math the way it can be taught successfully – by building the foundation first and then relying on it while deriving the next level of knowledge. While classrooms will still contain children of different abilities, no teacher will have to teach her class to multiply decimals while a third of the students still don’t know their multiplication table. Teaching will become more efficient: without having to spend a few months in the beginning of the year reviewing (or teaching) what students were already supposed to know, teachers will have enough time to teach the year’s material slowly and methodically, so that students learn it and will only need a slight refresher following the summer months. The vicious cycle of hectic teaching and reteaching each year will finally be broken.

In addition to making the requirements more rigorous than before (they are somewhat comparable to other countries’ standards), the Common Core State Standards also require teaching algebra earlier than it is currently taught in the United States. They contain requirements for students to understand what they are doing, not just to use algorithms mechanically. They also require the teaching of, not just isolated skills, but also how to apply those skills to solve complex problems.

The Concerning:

Even so, I’m far from euphoric about the standards, since there are some difficulties which might make their implementation painful, expensive – and quite possibly unsuccessful.

Just as children learn to talk at different ages, they develop their number sense at different ages too. Forcing children who are developmentally not ready “to fluently add” big numbers will be frustrating and time consuming – not to mention completely unnecessary. They can easily learn this quickly and easily a year later. Valuable time will be spent on drilling number sense and skills, and in the process children who struggle will be labeled as slow or failing. They will learn to hate and fear math.

Most significantly, this painful process will substitute what could be done naturally and enjoyably at this age (not to mention what will serve these students well in the long run): developing algebraic thinking, reasoning skills, and the courage and willingness to solve math problems. Algebra is a language. And just as young children are much more adept at learning languages than adolescents – so too can they pick up algebra much more easily. By focusing on number sense, the common core loses valuable time.

The attempt to make every student satisfy the standard requirements will also shift the focus to the failing students. And in the process it will take attention and resources away from succeeding students who could potentially excel with the proper support.

Teachers are not ready for the changes that the standards bring. Most have not been educated accordingly, and they will once again feel enormous pressure, knowing that their work will be evaluated by the standardized tests. The rigidity of the standards will prevent the most talented teachers from being creative; and it’s possible that the teacher body will become even less able when the best of them burn out and leave the profession.

But no standards can be clearly defined without the corresponding testing. Standards, on their own, are somewhat open to interpretation. It’s unclear which topics are more important relative to others in a given grade, or to what depth concepts are expected to be learned. Seeing the tests will help to clarify this for schools, as well as for us. The Common Core Standards assessments are close to being completed, so we’ll have to wait and see.



Common Core Arose From the Moscow Declaration

By adopting Common Core, the United States has adopted and is implementing UNESCO’s global education. It’s not a conspiracy, it simply is. It is being put into place in 45 states in grades K-12. There are Common Core standards for Pre-K and college to be implemented at a later date.

On June 2, 2006, the Education Ministers of the G-8, including US Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, incorporated Russian education initiatives into what has been termed the Moscow Declaration. The Declaration affirms G-8 commitment to “cooperation in education at all levels in the 21st century.”

It is a commitment to global education in a global society, an education that will erase the lines between U.S. sovereignty and individualism from everyone else in the world.

Remember, there is no longer American Exceptionalism. President Obama said we are no more exceptional than anyone else.

The fact that we are the last bastion of true freedom does make us exceptional, or at least it did.

G-8 members have met since 1975 to discuss economic and political issues. In 1997, the Russian Federation became a member. Members also include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In 2006, Russian education initiatives were accepted by the G-8 members, which included US Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who helped create the much-despised, “No Child Left Behind.” It was coined the Moscow Declaration.

According to Russia’s official news agency – the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) – Russia’s Science and Education Minister Andrei Fursenko describes the declaration as:

“…both a final document of the conference and the document that will be implemented by education ministers of all the world countries and international organizations, including the World Bank, UNESCO, and UN.” (ITAR-TASS, 6-2-2006) The U.S. Department of Education said the member delegates “pledged to share best practices across borders” to build “education systems that can allow people . . . to live and contribute to a global society, and to work in a global economy,” (U.S. Dept. of Education, 6-2-2006)

At the closing meeting session, Secretary Spellings who served under George W. Bush, said this: “I strongly support Russian Education and Science Minister Fursenko’s call to jointly issue the Moscow Declaration of the G-8 Education Ministers” and “This declaration is more than just words on paper — they are words to live by and words to act on.”

The money and the power behind the Common Core might be insurmountable. The plan is to turn our education system upside down with dishonest assessments of it and to use that to push us into a global education that is flawed by the very ideologies of the members of the global community.

The Moscow Declaration stated: “Ministers recognized that the internationalization of education is a reality.”

Several days prior to the G-8 issuance of the Moscow Declaration, Secretary Spellings and Minister Fursenko signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that expands on the “cooperation and exchanges in the field of education” and development of partnership between the United States and Russia.

A May 31, 2006 U.S. Dept. of Education press release claims: “This Memorandum of Understanding is the first of its kind between the U.S. Department of Education and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.”

The Moscow Declaration commitments include promotion of public-private partnerships, “social cohesion, the rule of law and justice [social justice], as well as civic engagement,” multicultural initiatives, and increased education use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology).

Decades-long existing United Nations and OECD lifelong education plans find support in the declaration’s goal for continued development of “lifelong learning systems” spanning from “early childhood through adulthood” to strengthen links “between learning enterprise training and the labor market.”

This is The Life of Julia, the socialist vision of government control of each person’s life from birth until death. The Life of Julia is nothing to laugh at, it is the goal.

Included in previously adopted initiatives — many of whose goals are similar to those found in the 2006 Moscow Declaration — are those from UNESCO as well as the 1985 agreement with the USSR called “The General Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR] on contacts, exchanges and cooperation in scientific, technical, educational, cultural and other fields.”

The General Agreement with then-communist USSR was signed Nov. 21, 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland. The document was signed by at-the-time U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz on behalf of the United States and the Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Shevardnadze.


Bill Clinton with the Director General. Clinton is a big supporter of global education and Common Core.

Secretary Spellings committed the U.S. to an agreement which is a rehashing of the same old reform ideas rejected as extreme when first presented. They are still extreme.

Spellings press release admits, “Ministers affirmed their support for UNESCO’s leadership in coordinating action to achieve EFA goals.”

In other words, we ceded our authority to UNESCO.

WE adopted the UNESCO Education goals.

From their website, “They encourage schools to contribute to international understanding and peace and they place emphasis on UNESCO ideals and the four pillars of Learning for the 21st Century: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be and learning to live together.” Their themes of study: world concerns and the role of the United Nations system, Education for Sustainable Development, peace and human rights, intercultural learning.

None of this is meant to strengthen the United States. It will deprive us of our sovereignty, our resources, our freedoms.

The United Nations is a loose ineffectual organization of socialists, communists, and dictators who do not have our best interests at heart. We have let them into the hearts and minds of our children.

We not only gave up local control, we gave up U.S. control.

Click here for Excerpts from Secretary Spellings’ Remarks at the Closing Session of the G-8 Education Ministerial



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