RTFU

Common Core: The Pussification of the American School System, Part II.

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Updated: March 25, 2014

 

By RU Twisted

You know what sucks? Public education. You know who agrees with me? Apparently a lot of people, given the response from the last Pussification of the American School System piece.

Public schools, much like our own representatives at the federal level, are failing. This much we know to be true. But how bad is it, really?

Let’s take a look at the newest fiasco coming from those who think nationalizing the education of children is a good idea: Common Core Standards.

By now, most have heard the term or seen a news piece regarding this new model for public schools, but the details are, believe it or not, probably even worse than what the news is covering. The abortion known as Common Core is a case study in why the government probably shouldn’t be anywhere near your kids.

The first problem is the name itself. By labeling a learning model with “common core” we would expect to find a set of standards that reflect the most foundational tools of education—things like basic mathematics, reading, sentence structure, verb conjugation, etc. If we were to apply terminology such as that to the military, we could expect that qualities like physical fitness, marksmanship, and mental fortitude would be at the core of development, for example. CommonCore1

However, what we see when poking into the Common Core Standards are more the equivalent of asking a Soldier or a Marine if they “know what an M4 looks like” and calling it good enough if they say yes. They don’t go very deep and, perhaps more importantly, don’t allow for much development.

Unfortunately, Common Core Standards have received a bad rap for some of the wrong reasons. It’s not a system that is trying to indoctrinate children with some progressive, liberal-utopian dogma (though there have been a few oddities regarding topics such as those), nor is it solely being pushed on the states by the federal government (they are certainly using monetary influence, but it was commissioned by the National Governors Association and the Chief Council of State School Officers). The problem is much more straightforward than that.

Common Core assumes that a governing body, far removed from a problem, has the best answer and that the problem can be fixed by doing the same thing for everyone in every circumstance. It makes an already-sluggish system even harder to change because, once instituted, becomes “the norm” and within a short time falls into the category of “the way we’ve done it for years.”

Think about some methods of military training. The General of the Army—or someone of equivalent rank in another branch (or their aides)—mandates a block of instruction on, let’s say, proper lacing of one’s boots and that everyone, regardless of rank or unit, must be checked off on the completion of the pertinent training. That means everyone from PFC Snuffy at the Motor Pool to MSG Burly-Beard at [UNIT THAT SHALL REMAIN UNNAMED] has to participate.

What happens? The training is watered down to the point of ridiculousness for those who can function on their own so that everyone of every skill level can complete it. Higher-level soldiers are bored out of their minds, which leaves a bad taste in their mouth, so they can “check the block” of required training.

What is most important here is what is left out—real input from troops, the majority of whom operate at different levels. Similarly, the Common Core standards embrace the idea that those at the top have the best handle on training and education. It flows from the notion that elected and appointed officials who suck down tax dollars like they are Kamikazes during Spring Break automatically know more about the education of young minds by the nature of their office.

News flash: they don’t.

Turning education into a bigger bureaucracy and nationalizing the standards are the exact opposite of what is needed. We are currently seeing the results of what that has already done—why on earth would we keep doing it? This is the equivalent of being billions of dollars in debt and borrowing more to pay for it. Oh, wait…

CommonCoreOur school systems are failing. Recent studies show that adults in the United States scored lower than those in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland, and multiple other countries in basic reading and math skills. The children in school now are comparatively worse as our educational system becomes more and more nationalized.

As I pointed out in the comment section of our last piece on this subject, you can do your own experiment: ask a high school student when (and over what) the Revolutionary War was fought, how to diagram a sentence, or what E=MC2 means in simplistic form. Now ask them about topics like global warming and gender/racial equality studies. Why should you get a detailed answer on the latter while receiving blank stares on the former? Why is our educational system failing at the most basic principles of… education?

Our governments at both state and federal levels are responsible for gross economic negligence, overstepping their bounds regarding basic rights like privacy and self-defense and generally making any system slower and more cumbersome. With our current educational model being a demonstrable failure, do we really want to hand more authority to those in elected and appointed offices?

Keep in mind, those holding elected offices right now are the ones who still got paid while families of our warriors failed to receive benefits “guaranteed” to them by those who went above and beyond the call of duty. I say the last thing they should be deciding on is the best way to help my kids learn how to read, write, and do math.

All of this does not even begin to address the myriad other problems with Common Core (states being bribed with federal funds, the crony capitalism of Bill Gates being involved, secret planning, etc.), as that would take two or three more articles. What is of utmost importance to realize here is that the ultimate goal of this program is to centralize education by bureaucrats who are far removed from your family’s life.

Central planning should not be the answer to any problem, least of all the education of your own children. The state does not know better than you what your kids need—they never have and never will.

Comments

comments

23 Comments

  1. Justin

    March 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    No doubt, standardized education sucks. I’ve become so sick of the system that I took on double the classes this year in order to graduate earlier and leave. I go to a Vo-Tech school, so the academics aren’t great, but my shop is based on the military and the public service field. While my shop is extremely difficult at times, because of standardized education, the rest of my day is like nothing. There is not really a time in my academic courses that I’m challenged or forced to think. Everything is either spoon-fed, taught from a packet, or notes are taken from a power point. Instead of class lectures and discussion, we take notes and a test. Instead of practical application, we “learn” to pass the standardized state exams.

    Not only is everything obnoxiously simple, it’s painfully slow at times. In my senior English/Literature class, we were given the task to read chapter 1 of a novel on our own. Chapter 1 starts on page 9, the teacher read the class up to page 13. The teacher was worried we wouldn’t have the time to finish chapter 1 with the 20 minutes of class time left. I was worried I wouldn’t finish, so I read quickly and really focused. After about 3 minutes of reading, I was finished with chapter 1, on page 17.

    Mind you, I do understand that there are people that are naturally slow readers. However, when the comment was made that it was the first time a particular student had read from a book (other than those in their shop areas) since their sophomore year, I was blown away.

    Thousands of dollars are spent per year per student because they don’t work and refuse to, or because they are mentally incapable of their school work. I understand the second case, but the first is inexcusable. Kick those out that don’t want to learn and waste money. Help those that want to learn but struggle to, and help those that want to learn more but don’t have the means to excel because of the broken system that is today.

    Very few true teachers are around any more. Because of a broken system, the “lamest generation” is going to destroy everything that the previous generations worked so hard to build.

    • M. Bubba Blume

      March 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

      With No Child Left Behind disruptive students can’t be kicked out permanently. There are plenty of teachers and administrators who would like to however!

      And because of NCLB, there is no “flunking” a grade anymore.

      • JoeC

        March 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm

        NCLB is probably the worst thing that’s ever happened to American education. We won’t leave them behind physically by flunking them and holding them back a grade, but we’ll leave them behind mentally so they don’t get their feelings hurt. And if that isn’t good enough, we’ll cripple the academic growth of their peers in order to make them all as equally worthless as possible.

  2. Lenae

    March 26, 2014 at 8:59 am

    “The state does not know better than you what your kids need- they never have and they never will.”

    One of the many reasons I am proud to be a homeschooler, and intend to homeschool my daughter.
    Also a HUGE reason you should call your representitives and tell them to NOT ratify the “Rights of the Child” treaty. It would put our children’s health & education in the hands of the UN. Not in the hands of the parents where it should be.

  3. Tanner

    March 26, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I agree with Justin. The problem with our test scores compared to the rest of the world is that our students don’t want to learn. How many of us witnessed kids in Afghanistan literally go ape shit over getting a pen,pencil, or notebook, so that they can practice writing? Our kids are too preoccupied with pursuing every little passion (video games, sports, dating, , partying, riding 4wheelers, etc, basically any recreational activity you can think of)to worry about doing any of that fancy “learnin” Until we change their priorities, teachers are going to fail at their job, and that isn’t their fault, it’s our society and cultures’ fault as a whole.

  4. JoeC

    March 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

    It may not be very teacher’s fault, but fault can be found with many of them and administrators as well. On the way to work this morning I was listening to a radio station that I usually don’t listen to because the morning crew are idiots, but today they really made a good point. They were talking about the little girl that got in trouble at school because she shaved her head to support a friend that had cancer. This is a commendable act that got her in trouble because there is a school policy that doesn’t allow shaving your head. The good point that was made by the radio show was that if teachers and administrators don’t have the common sense needed to look at a situation and evaluate it so that an intelligent decision can be made, how can they possibly be capable of teaching kids? Too many decisions are made by people that are too far removed from the situation to develop and implement a workable solution. Put the power back in the hands of the people that can fix it instead of trying to legislate a one size fits all solution that isn’t realistic.

  5. ex-Army doc

    March 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Mr. Twisted nailed the issue with his post’s title. Teaching is being watered down to a pussified, unacceptably low standard. That is truly unfortunate, because there are engaging, enthusiastic, and motivated classroom teachers who are being kept from doing their best work.

    Common Core is the result of several different but complementary agendas:

    1. Educators wanting an ‘easier and more accessible’ approach for kids who have difficulty learning (“Oh, Johnny, that was SO close to right, let me give you half credit” — let’s all hope Johnny doesn’t want to be a pharmacist where a mistake like that can seriously harm people). Instead, schools should man the F up and hold kids responsible for learning.
    2. Schools wanting a curriculum to avoid being held responsible by parents for not teaching (“It’s not our fault your kid doesn’t know anything — we’re teaching the common core because we’re too lame to create accountability.”)
    3. Education programs in colleges: if education professors didn’t write crap like common core and attempt to justify it after the fact, we might all realize some of their contributions aren’t worth much. A typical retired E-7 or E-8 has more ‘teaching’ skills than the typical college education graduate.
    4. Textbook companies: $$$ from publishing new books.
    5. An underlying socialist idea that everyone is equal. This idea is total nonsense. Why insist that all students are academically equal when it’s clear they are not? It would make as much sense to start an equal opportunity requirement for school sports and let everyone play, regardless of athletic talent. In practice, this socialist idea affects only the bright kids who are tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, inventors, and yes, teachers. Migration toward average for everyone, and shut down those with ability so they can be watched, regulated, and carefully managed.

    Is school about learning useful concepts and skills that make life easier or/and contribute to getting a good job, or, is school about kids going through the motions to feel better about their (non-)accomplishments.

    In this age when everyone is a winner and everyone receives a trophy, I think I know the answer. That’s why my wife and I insist our kids work hard, aren’t allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities unless their grades are good enough (and we have held them out of practice and games, making our kid be the one to explain to the coach), and aren’t allowed to watch TV or play any video games on weeknights. One of my kids didn’t like going through the causes of World War I two nights before an exam, but lo and behold, when the one essay question on the test was ‘Explain the underlying causes of WWI,’ she was ready to kick academic butt. Similarly, my other kid was frustrated with our repeating practice problems in science, but on the test, several questions were similar to what we had done at home, and bingo, she nailed them.

    According to my kids, I am totally ‘unfair’ and ‘more strict than anyone else’s father’, but I know these efforts will eventually be recognized.

    Just not by the school system.

    • Mr. Twisted

      March 28, 2014 at 9:30 am

      ^^^^^^^^What that guy just said.^^^^^^^^

  6. leftoftheboom

    March 28, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I recommend this. Google and read. It looks like science fiction was turning prophesy.

    “Harrison Bergeron” is copyrighted by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1961.

  7. Gunship Load

    March 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Is it too soon to bring up the idea of newspeak?

    Just askin’…

  8. CIBANDEIBISALLYOUNEED

    March 29, 2014 at 3:59 am

    The reason the school system has gone down the shitter, is because the hippies took over our government. To them failure is the only option. We can’t have people outshining the rest. Why do you think they are in the stages of legalizing marijuana?
    To better us? HA! They want us to be pacifist and retarded. The more idiotic we are, the easier they can control us. Also making us more dependent on them, so that they have overall authority. Sounds like the beginning of the original soviet era. Hence most of our politico’s are Marxist sympathizers and want to crush our constitution. My kids aren’t going to go to one of their zombification schools. Better off home schooling at this point. By the time you graduate high school you should be able to do more than work at restaurant, then pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to learn how to write a damn thesis in college. By the time you graduate you should be able to build a house, fix a car , save a life and kick a bad guy’s ass. School is a F*cking sham, you don’t learn anything worth a damn. You got to dig and learn everything yourself now a days… Sad but true…Even our politicos are too stupid to know or care, that the Constitution is their ultimate authority and that we are a Republic of Free people with UN-ALIENABLE rights. But whatever, you need to know how to live and make a living, not quote Shaky Spears or study dumb shit theories. How about sticking to reality, I don’t give a shit that pluto ain’t a planet anymore or how far away the damn sun is. Let’s not forget they refuse to teach discipline or morality…Everybody who likes to hide behind the 1st amendment and then try to strip me of my 2nd amendment should have all of their rights revoked and booted to England with the other red coats. Our Beloved Constitution is light years ahead of all of us as far as brilliance and anyone who condemns it should be deported. Our school system needs a damn overhaul, LIKE NOW! Before we have anymore slobbering zombies walking around.
    -Grunt OIF2 TF 2-2 INF 1ST DIV

  9. Marc

    March 29, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    I’m at a junior college right now trying to get my degree.

    Any of the 1-A, or 101 classes filled with kids just out of high school are a nightmare. Kids are shocked to learn they have to work for their grades, teachers tell me much of their work is substandard. Cheating is SOP. I’m on the Monterey Peninsula, and the student body ranges from super-rich kids, rich kids, middle class kids, and low income, and even migrant farm workers. This behavior cuts evenly across the spectrum.

    Worse? California is gutting its Junior College system by imposing ridiculous standards to make up for the dismal performance of the K-12 schools. They’re being turned into diploma mills.

    I graduated high school in 1982, I was not a great student (hence being in college a 50), but my education is a galaxy away in quality than the kid graduating in 2014.

  10. Morg

    March 30, 2014 at 12:19 am

    My wife and I are military, with her still serving and myself retired now. We just PCS’ed to the UK. We have a 5 year old son who was attending “private” school back in the States because it better than the public school system. This private school was the best in the area, at a price tag of $650 a month. When we arrived in the UK we had him go to the DOD school on base. First off, on the first visit to the school we were being introduced to his teacher. While in the class, some kid in the class ran up and punched our son in the stomache! What the hell? What did the teacher do, nothing. She told the kid to go sit down. Our son spent a week at that school before he was accepted into the British school system. During that week our son was taught how let’s sound and how to write them. The same applied for numbers. These were things my wife and I taught our son at home when he was 3 and 4. Now, in the British school system at year one (kindergarten equivalent) our son comes home with Venn diagrams, adding and subtracting 100’s, carry over mathematics, and when he reads a book, he has to read it with inflection based upon punctuation. Afterwards he has to answer hypothetical questions based upon variants that could have occurred.

    This is kindergarten to the British. While those back in America cater to the lowest common denominator, the rest of the world excells. Its truly hard to hold your head high as an American when our own government sells us out in favor of special interest groups, minorities, and social agendas.

  11. EmbraceTheSuck

    March 30, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Here is a simple issue, though you are correct in that the implementation of Common Core and many of it’s ideas are just plain stupid, we do need a method of ensuring that student from all areas learn the same stuff. I grew up in the South, while most of my friends grew up in the North, we learned VERY different versions of US history and I was required (in public school) to take a semester of bible study in order to move ahead.

    So how do we solve that problem?

    • Mr. Twisted

      March 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      “…we do need a method of ensuring that student from all areas learn the same stuff.”

      One question: Why?

  12. Mick

    March 30, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Ok, let my start by explaining that I respond to this thread out of respect for RU Twisted and the others who have chosen to post here. Furthermore, I agree whole-heartedly that there are serious flaws in the American educational system. However, to allow my fellow soldiers to proceed down a path with misinformation would be tantamount to treason for me.
    Firstly, the Common Core is a set of standards, not practices. You don’t have to take my word for it. http://www.corestandards.org/read-the-standards/ … Read it for yourself. The method, manner and execution of how one meets those standards is left to the individual educational entity. That entity may be a state, school district, individual school or even teacher. Common Core is not curriculum. It is the expected result of the executed curriculum. In addition, they are stated much more in the likeness of “a soldier must be able to disassemble and reassemble the primary weapon associated with their respective MOS.”
    What can one expect of a student that has completed the 5th grade to know about mathematics? Even within the confines of the United States, the question needs clarification. Where did they go to school? Common Core is meant to eliminate the need for the clarifying question. That all students identified as having completed the 5th grade will know and capable of executing the same mathematic concepts. Is that an unreasonable expectation? Really? It is a “Go” – “No Go” proposition. You either can, or you can’t. If you can’t, you are not qualified to complete the 5th grade. If the school graduates (globally accepted term for measuring) someone who can’t, the school is not completing its intended purpose.
    On a side note, it may surprise you that most teachers don’t like the idea of Common Core. They are afraid it will lead to a mechanism for evaluating their individual ability to teach.
    “…we would expect to find a set of standards that reflect the most foundational tools of education—things like basic mathematics, reading, sentence structure, verb conjugation, etc.”
    That is exactly what they do. Please refer to the provided link and actually read them. It may be your experience that your school implies they implement Common Core, but actually does not. They are depending on your ignorance to continue to operate in their current manner. By the way, teachers really don’t like me. I too am “strict”.

    The “Pussification” is not the results of Common Core. I assert, Common Core is a mechanism to combat the “Pussification”. Pussification is the result of a much deeper, fundamental flaw in our current culture. It is a symptom of the real issues.

    • Mr. Twisted

      March 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Mick,

      Thanks for the comment. I think there are some things you wrote which need addressing.

      “Common Core is not curriculum.”

      Not entirely true. A great deal of the Common Core program heavily emphasizes certain curriculum that was developed by very few people and has more than a slight bit of shadiness involved (see Bill Gates’ foundation’s involvement with the program).

      “If you can’t, you are not qualified to complete the 5th grade. If the school graduates (globally accepted term for measuring) someone who can’t, the school is not completing its intended purpose.”

      Schools aren’t completing their intended purpose now with the supposed nationalized standards as they are; what about Common Core makes that different? It is simply another national-level program that is out of touch with localized problems and, therefore, causes more problems as a whole.

      Think about this: if kids in inner city New Jersey aren’t able to pass the same standards as the kids in rural Montana are, do you think that the Department of education will, A) fail the NJ school system and de-fund them for not doing it right, or B) make it so everyone can pass and it will look better? Two things indicate that it will assuredly be the second option: reality and teachers unions.

      “That is exactly what they do. Please refer to the provided link and actually read them. It may be your experience that your school implies they implement Common Core, but actually does not. They are depending on your ignorance to continue to operate in their current manner.”

      Again, this doesn’t happen for the exact reason I stated above: teachers unions. Rest assured, teachers aren’t relying on my or your ignorance so much as they are marching to the tune of the all-powerful teachers unions. It cannot be overstated how much power and influence these organizations assert at the state and national level, and none of it is for the good of “the children.”

      You are absolutely correct that pussification is not the result of Common Core. The latter is a mere symptom of a growing problem of nationalizing anything and everything so “the government” can fix it. Guess what? Like I wrote in my post, it can’t and it won’t; point of fact, it never has.

      Again, the big issue here is not one of curriculum A vs. curriculum B. That is at best a secondary issue, taking a back seat to the very large problem of thinking that we can nationalize educational standards in a place as large and diverse as the United States.

      • Mick

        April 1, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        Mr. Twisted,

        Thank you very much for your response. I again emphasize my respect for your viewpoint. I would like to address your response.

        Mick: “Common Core is not curriculum.”
        Mr. Twisted: “Not entirely true.”
        No sir, its fact. Curriculum is an aggregate of courses. Common Core is an aggregate of standards. For example, there are several manners in which to execute long division. I have seen some crazy obscure methods/processes. Each resulting in the same answer, but different paths for getting there. Common Core does not express how to execute (get there). It distinctly states that in order to be considered in compliance with the standard, one must be capable of executing long division—getting there.

        “A great deal of the Common Core program heavily emphasizes certain curriculum…”
        No sir. It does not emphasize any specific curriculum.

        “…that was developed by very few people…”
        Of course it was. Ever have 10 people spend 30 minutes or more on trying to agree on somewhere to eat for lunch?

        “… and has more than a slight bit of shadiness involved (see Bill Gates’ foundation’s involvement with the program).”
        And? Are computers bad? He, and a few others, were fundamental in the proliferation. Oxygen and Hydrogen are both extremely flammable, but essential in water.

        “Schools aren’t completing their intended purpose now with the supposed nationalized standards as they are;”
        Agreed sir! However,(fact) there are no nationalized standards. Not even Common Core is nationalized.

        “what about Common Core makes that different?”
        That it is not curriculum. It defines what one must know, not how they know it. That it is not specific to New Jersey nor Montana. It is able to be measured without prejudice; It is objective. Can you, or can you not? Yes or No.

        “…do you think that the Department of education will,
        A) fail the NJ school system and de-fund them for not doing it right…”

        First, the standards are not about “doing it right”. They are… “Can you do this? No. Why not? What is preventing you from doing it? How do we enable you to do this?”
        Secondly, Should anyone have different expectations of a graduate from NJ and a graduate from Montana? I assert, no. Both being graduates, I would, and should, expect them to have a minimum level of knowledge.

        “…this doesn’t happen for the exact reason I stated above: teachers unions.”

        If the title and content of the article where directed to “Teacher’s Unions: The Pussification of the American School System”, we would be in simple agreement.

        The Common Core is not a “be all, end all” proposition. It is a girder in the bridge to developing a common knowledge base; An origin and azimuth. I fully expect that further definition will be necessary and beneficial.

        The opposition that I have found to Common core is surrounded by statements like…
        Statement: We get kids from various cultures, environments and backgrounds that don’t all learn the same.
        Response: Yep, that’s why we need teachers that can teach to their students. If they can’t, we need to find out why and address that. How does that imply that student A needs to know long division and Student B does not.

        Statement: People are individuals.
        Response: Yep, and they will continue to be and express themselves as such. In no way does this contradict their individuality. It simply identifies, if you assert to be at a specific level, you know how to do this.

        Statement: It will lower the standard for “college-readiness”. ACT is revising their testing to be in line with Common Core.
        Response: How does a minimum set of requirements for the traditional graduation of elementary, middle and high school affect “college-readiness”? Only by the college’s or tester’s desire to lower their own standards for acceptance. It does not address AP courses, STEM, nor Baccalaureate programs. All of which have even higher standards.

        Really, I can go on and on.
        I would issue a friendly challenge, find any one standard in the Common Core that you don’t want your, or any, American child to know.

        Respectfully,
        Mick

        • Mr. Twisted

          April 2, 2014 at 11:34 am

          Mick,

          “No sir, its fact. Curriculum is an aggregate of courses. Common Core is an aggregate of standards. For example, there are several manners in which to execute long division. I have seen some crazy obscure methods/processes. Each resulting in the same answer, but different paths for getting there. Common Core does not express how to execute (get there). It distinctly states that in order to be considered in compliance with the standard, one must be capable of executing long division—getting there.”

          If this were true, then why does it exist? Why is Common Core something that needed and uses funding at all? If it is simply a set of standards, as you assert, then everything needed to implement them already exists and has for decades (or even a century or more). You’re correct in that there are several methods to execute long division; and kids have been doing them for years. Common Core does not change that.

          “No sir. It does not emphasize any specific curriculum.”

          Not true at all, and this will bear out in the future. Again, if there were no specific curriculum, Common Core would not be a topic at all. “But identifying common standards is just the starting point. We’ll only know if this effort has succeeded when the curriculum and tests are aligned to these standards.”–Bill Gates.

          “Of course it was. Ever have 10 people spend 30 minutes or more on trying to agree on somewhere to eat for lunch?”

          So you think sweeping, nationwide legislation that has to do with educating children all across the country should be decided in secret by a couple people? As I pointed out, that goes to the very heart of the problem here: central planning. This is bad on so many levels that it goes well beyond just educational standards.

          “And? Are computers bad? He, and a few others, were fundamental in the proliferation. Oxygen and Hydrogen are both extremely flammable, but essential in water.”

          No, computers are not bad. What is decidedly bad for capitalism and freedom is when a multi-billion dollar behemoth so heavily influences the laws of our country that it can literally write itself into them, thereby granting themselves the benefits thereof. When, not if, specific technological requirements are necessary to the implementation of Common Core, who do you think will provide those requirements and who do you think will fund it? Don’t kid yourself into thinking that people like Mr. Gates are only in this to “help the children.” He may very well have good intentions overall, but rest assured, there will be a massive financial benefit to his company and it will come directly from the US Taxpayer. So, yes, I have a serious problem with any company who has the ability to write themselves into codified law that will — not maybe, not possibly — affect something as major as the education of children.

          “Agreed sir! However,(fact) there are no nationalized standards. Not even Common Core is nationalized.”

          Yet. But that doesn’t mean Common Core and the Department of Education aren’t desperately trying to make it so, which is a decidedly bad thing.

          “That it is not curriculum. It defines what one must know, not how they know it. That it is not specific to New Jersey nor Montana. It is able to be measured without prejudice; It is objective. Can you, or can you not? Yes or No.”

          Again, if this were the case, then Common Core would A) not need to exist, and B) not need to be funded in any way, shape, or form. The mechanisms are already in place to make “objective” standards. The reason they haven’t been met should not be addressed by more central planning and more government bureaucracy.

          “Secondly, Should anyone have different expectations of a graduate from NJ and a graduate from Montana? I assert, no. Both being graduates, I would, and should, expect them to have a minimum level of knowledge.”

          This goes to the heart of the problem. Your definition of “a minimum level of knowledge” is undoubtedly different from others both with children and working in education. But here’s the thing: ultimately it doesn’t matter if you “assert” that expectations should or should be different because it shouldn’t be up to you what the people in Montana or New Jersey or South Texas decided for their standards. They may have some really awesome ideas of how to educate their kids and they may have some really crappy ones; in either case, it should not be the decision of the national government to approve or disapprove.

          Ask yourself these questions in all sincerity: if Common Core is simply a set of standards and the states are allowed to implement them however they choose, 1) Why were they bribed to adopt them before they were ever written? 2) Why doe they need massive funding? 3) Why would someone like Mr. Gates donate millions of dollars to simply push standards that have existed for over a century?

          “Yep, that’s why we need teachers that can teach to their students. If they can’t, we need to find out why and address that. How does that imply that student A needs to know long division and Student B does not.”

          Common Core will not fix that problem. This is a reality that needs to be accepted. Time and again, we face problems as a society that a significant number of people think can be solved by the federal government. With the track record of the latter as an institution, why on earth would we believe it will get it right this time?

          “In no way does this contradict their individuality. It simply identifies, if you assert to be at a specific level, you know how to do this.”

          The “people are individuals” argument is, to put it bluntly, a red herring.

          Regarding college readiness…where to begin? Colleges should be one of the best examples of why federal funding and education should never mix, but here we as a people continue to believe that throwing taxpayer dollars at these institutions is a wise course of action, despite demonstrable proof that it has caused massive economic problems.

          We have somehow bought into this myth that high school should just be preparation for college. Why that is misleading and has been for years requires an in-depth look at where education and the job market has gone in the last 4 or 5 decades and what led us to this point. We could spend several thousand words discussing that, but it leads us to the same point: involvement of the federal government in both the job market and education has only made things worse, not better.

          “I would issue a friendly challenge, find any one standard in the Common Core that you don’t want your, or any, American child to know.”

          This is a misleading question and is akin to asking “why do you hate babies and kick puppies?” It implies that, by saying Common Core is bad, I would be asserting that I don’t want children to know how to read, write, or do long division. That is simply not the case. I am very much in favor of children learning how to read, write, and do mathematics well, and I’ve worked with people who are very proficient at teaching kids how to do that very thing. Guess what? They didn’t learn how by having the federal government swoop down and say “do this.”

          I can ask a much more relevant question: Do you trust the federal government’s handling of the economy and what they have done with it in the last several decades? Do you think that they have made sound financial decisions that has set our country up for success in monetary policy? If your answer is yes, I’m sorry to say that we are done here, as we have fundamentally different views of reality.

          If, however, your answer is no, the question must then be asked: why would you trust these same people with teaching kids how to read, write, and do math?

          • Mick

            April 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

            Your perspective seem to keep coming back to this centralized point.
            “If this were true, then why does it exist? Why is Common Core something that needed and uses funding at all?”

            Hopefully, the following will provide clarity to my argument. I am going to sell you rope. I sell that rope by the linear foot. I bring you the rope and say, “Here you are sir, 1 linear foot of rope!” You say, “That’s not a linear foot of rope!” I say it is. We have a problem. How do we resolve this issue? We get a measuring device. A standardized tool to assess the length of the rope. Not to assess how I made the rope nor how you will use the rope. Maybe, you want to purchase the rope in metric lengths? No worries, we can either acquire a standardized tool that measures in metric units or employ a conversion algorithm. That standardized tool does not exist in the realm of primary education.

            “So you think sweeping, nationwide legislation that has to do with educating children all across the country should be decided in secret by a couple people?”

            First, it’s not nationwide. You know it’s not. I know it’s not. It is a state’s prerogative with 45 states adopting, 1 (MN) adopting only the ELA portion, and 4 opting out completely.
            Secondly, the effort to produce this set of standards was prompted by a request from the National Governor’s Association.
            Thirdly, state adoption is a legislative process that takes place at the State legislature. A process that requires inclusion of your state’s House, Senate and Governor. Pretty big stretch to refer to the people that actually enact the adoption as a small group of people. In reference to the people who actually put the standards together, every effort starts out with a small group and a goal. They hash it out, produce some findings and then distribute their findings.
            Forth, this, or any, set of standards, does not educate children. Teachers educate children. Curriculum determines the manner in which they will teach and will be taught. The standards are tools to measure the incremental result of the education.
            Finally, the general public’s ambivalence to any given topic until is smacks them in the face does not constitute a new meaning for the term “secret”.

            Consequently, don’t confuse the Common Core Standards Initiative (the effort to define the standards) with the company that has named themselves Common Core (people who sell curricullum). They are not the same.

            My challenge was pretty straight forward. You said the standards are bad. I asked which ones. You refused the challenge. But since you brought it up, why do you hate babies and kick puppies? (Sarcastic humor meant to lighten the tone.)

             “I can ask a much more relevant question: Do you trust the federal government’s handling of the economy and what they have done with it in the last several decades?”

             I don’t think the term “relevant” means what you think it means. However, to answer your question, no I don’t. They had a hand in screwing it royally.

            “…why would you trust these same people with teaching kids how to read, write, and do math?”
            I don’t. I also don’t trust anyone who directly opposes something either. I do the research myself. I become educated in the context area. I don’t depend on the unreliable, unsupported musings of pundits nor the charismatic authority of self-proclaimed experts. I want to know where they get their information from and what they are using as a basis for their arguments. Then I can determine my own opinion based on reality instead of feel good optimism or bullshit fear-mongering.

            In a nutshell, your argument seems to be as follows…
            Central planning is bad. –Central Planning is an economics term, not educational nor academic. I agree it’s bad, but completely irrelevant to the topic.
            Bill Gates is bad. –Already discussed.
            Federal government tanked US economy thus, the Federal government is bad. –Imagine where this could go.
            Common Core is central planning –Nope, the two are unrelated.
            Bill Gates supports Common Core. –If Bill Gates supported “Operation Ranger Up”, would it be inherently bad?
            Federal government supports Common Core.

            Therefore, by the transitive property of bat shit craziness…
            (Yep. Liberated it from a Damn Few episode),
            Common Core is bad.  

            Horribly unsupportable argument.

        • Mr. Twisted

          April 2, 2014 at 11:37 am

          Also, please watch this and note the comments by those actually involved with the development of the program:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjxBClx01jc

          • Mr. Twisted

            April 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm

            “That standardized tool does not exist in the realm of primary education.”

            Huh? I’m sorry, it’s not that tough to test to see if kids can read, write, and do math at a certain level. And states have been doing it for years. That won’t magically get better just because it’s nationalized.

            “First, it’s not nationwide. You know it’s not. I know it’s not. It is a state’s prerogative with 45 states adopting, 1 (MN) adopting only the ELA portion, and 4 opting out completely.”

            When the federal government is using taxpayer money to fund something, it’s nationalized. I think you are under the assumption that just because certain people aren’t playing along, that makes it not national. This would be like saying the Coast Guard isn’t national because not every state has a coastline. It’s still funded by taxpayer dollars at a national level.

            “Secondly, the effort to produce this set of standards was prompted by a request from the National Governor’s Association.”

            *After* being given a huge incentive to do so using, again, taxpayer dollars.

            “Pretty big stretch to refer to the people that actually enact the adoption as a small group of people.”

            Not if you’ve seen first-hand how laws get passed it’s not.

            “Forth, this, or any, set of standards, does not educate children. Teachers educate children. Curriculum determines the manner in which they will teach and will be taught. The standards are tools to measure the incremental result of the education.”

            Fair point, but there again we get back to my last question: if they are only standards, why does it exist? And no, the rope answer is not an answer. Sorry.

            “You said the standards are bad. I asked which ones. You refused the challenge. But since you brought it up, why do you hate babies and kick puppies? (Sarcastic humor meant to lighten the tone.)”

            That was funny, I’m not even going to lie.

            I ignored the challenge because it’s a pointless challenge. Again, of course I want children to be able to read more gooder (tank u, pubwic skewl!). But, and I say it again, nationalizing a standard Does. Not. Make. It. Better. Or more likely to be followed.

            “I don’t think the term “relevant” means what you think it means.”

            Yeah, it does. And it’s absolutely relevant.

            “I don’t depend on the unreliable, unsupported musings of pundits nor the charismatic authority of self-proclaimed experts. I want to know where they get their information from and what they are using as a basis for their arguments. Then I can determine my own opinion based on reality instead of feel good optimism or bullshit fear-mongering.”

            This is a good thing. I’m not being sarcastic; that is good to hear.

            “Central planning is bad. –Central Planning is an economics term, not educational nor academic. I agree it’s bad, but completely irrelevant to the topic.”

            A) In no way is it irrelevant, B) economics is relevant to every single aspect of life when government is involved, C) please revisit A and B.

            “Bill Gates is bad. –Already discussed.”

            I have no feeling one way or another about Bill Gates as a person. I said this in the last comment; he may very well have good intentions. That’s not the point. What is most certainly relevant is when multi-billion dollar companies influence laws that affect taxpayers, even when they may or may not have a dog in the fight (or a kid in school, to be more poignant).

            “Federal government tanked US economy thus, the Federal government is bad. –Imagine where this could go.”

            I already have imagined it. Sorry, but that’s a point in my favor.

            “Common Core is central planning –Nope, the two are unrelated.”

            Again, you’re dead wrong on this. Central planning is very relevant and exactly where things are leading in many areas, including education. This is simply a step in that direction.

            “Bill Gates supports Common Core. –If Bill Gates supported “Operation Ranger Up”, would it be inherently bad?”

            Does Operation Ranger Up influence federal and state laws?

            “Therefore, by the transitive property of bat shit craziness…”

            Hahahahahahahaha. That was awesome.

            “Horribly unsupportable argument.”

            No, it really isn’t. And there are extremely educated and intelligent making the same argument for exactly the same reasons.

            Here’s the thing: ultimately, you can disagree and say Common Core is a great thing and we should welcome it. I understand that and even respect it. But it must be accepted that what you are tacitly endorsing is the idea that “standards” (which are not anywhere near as agreed upon as you would like to think they are) should be meted out by a growing behemoth of power that is far removed from the issue. If you’re willing to accept that, great!

            Where I do have a problem is in calling this something entirely different than what it is and saying that it is irrelevant to major economic concerns. I spent enough time in politics and have enough of an education to know where these things lead–and it’s never good. Taking the attitude that “this time it will be different” has never worked in the past and won’t work in the future.

            It boils down to this: communities, not governing bodies, have a much better chance of figuring out what works and what doesn’t for children’s education (and most other things in life). Whether it be Common Core, No Child Left Behind, or some other government-funded educational program, rest assured that it isn’t going to work as well as what private institutions are figuring out on their own. But guess what? Once it’s adopted, it’s very difficult to get rid of; kind of like any other piece of legislation, law, Act, or…whatever. Once it’s in, it’s very difficult to change (see also: Affordable Care Act — you can keep your insurance policy if you want!).

            I could go on and on; I really could. But it all can be summed up by this one statement: government is not a solution.

  13. Gunship Load

    April 3, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I believe that Sam Cooke wrote and performed the theme song to “Common Core” back in 1959…

    The song is called “Wonderful World”…

    “Don’t know much about history,
    Don’t know much biology,
    Don’t know much about science book,
    Don’t know much about the French I took….”

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