Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Common Core" — Here we go again

Like I've said before, reliable methods of teaching were worked out a long time ago. Not very long ago, schoolmasters in one-room schoolhouses taught a bunch of kids of varying ages to read, write, do arithmetic, and any number of other things that seem to be beyond the abilities of teachers with advanced degrees these days. Actually, such methods were probably worked out in Sumer millennia ago. In recent times, though, reliability has been deemed insufficient, and we've gone through a series of cool new methods, like "whole language" and "new math," none of which have worked worth a damn but all of which have had millions poured into their implementation. And that's why so many cashiers can't make change, and why so many find it easier to watch TV than to read. Part of the reason, anyway.

We taught all of our kids to read using alphabet blocks and old "Dick and Jane" readers before they were old enough to go to school. It was a breeze. But hard-core professional educators are currently turning out high school graduates who need a tutor to help them fill out their college applications.

The latest trendy new money-pit theory is "Common Core." You may have seen the TV ads that say it's "all about standards." It is to laugh. It is not about standards, but about awkward new methods, political correctness, and sociopolitical indoctrination.  At Had Enough Therapy, Stuart Schneiderman tells us about it:

The Trouble with Common Core


I haven’t been paying too much attention to the new educational program, Common Core that activists are imposing on the country.

In some way, it feels like a completely ridiculous notion. The idea that the world’s richest man is best qualified to know what every school should teach strikes one as a rank absurdity. Being richer than everyone does not mean that you better than everyone else.

Apparently, being really, really rich means that you can hire an army of experts and produce an educational program that you believe—because they told you-- will serve the best interests of all American students.

And yet, being rich does not make you an authority on education. You are forced to depend on people who are recognized authorities. If you are sufficiently naïve you will not suspect that they have a political agenda.

For the record, we assume that Bill Gates, like many very wealthy people, has had his mind hijacked by a band of do-gooders. One supposes the he is a candidate for forgiveness, on Biblical grounds: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Up until now, most of the press reports about Common Core suggest that it’s a dopey way to teach math. Those who concocted it do not much like rote memorization of multiplication tables, but prefer convoluted explanations that show how the process occurs.

They did not seem to understand that memorizing multiplication tables is far more efficient than thinking through what it really means to say that 9 x 7 = 63.

This morning Betsy McCaughey shines a light into some of the darker recesses of Common Core and shows why some states are trying to save their children from it.

It turns out that Common Core standards for American history contain a goodly part of indoctrination in an anti-American ideology. It’s more guilt trip than history. So much so that you suspect that William Ayers—President’s Obama’s good friend from Chicago—was part of the committee of experts.

McCaughey writes:

Contrary to what the public is told, Common Core is not about standards. It’s about content — what pupils are taught. In the Social Studies Framework approved on April 29th by New York State’s education authorities (but not parents), American history is presented as four centuries of racism, economic oppression, and gender discrimination. Teachers are encouraged to help students identify their differences instead of their common American identity. Gone are heroes, ideals, and American exceptionalism.

Eleventh grade American history begins with the colonial period, but Puritans and their churches, standing on virtually every New England town green to this day, are erased. Amazingly, Puritan leader John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” vision, an enduring symbol of American exceptionalism cited by politicians from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and Michael Dukakis, is gone. Religion is expunged from New York State’s account of how this nation began.

Instead, the focus is on “Native Americans who eventually lost much of their land and experienced a drastic decline in population through diseases and armed conflict.” The other focus is on slavery and indentured servitude. True, the curriculum includes political developments and democratic principles. But overall, it’s so slanted as to be untrue.

The indoctrination begins early. In grade three, “students are introduced to the concepts of prejudice, discrimination and human rights, as well as social action.” Grade four suggested reading includes “The Kid’s Guide to Social Action.”

Grade nine shortchanges the discovery of the Americas by European explorers, renaming it the dreary topic, “The Encounter.” Students will “map the exchange of crops and animals and the spread of diseases across the world” due to the Encounter, and study “the decimation of indigenous populations in the Americas” and the “the impact of the Atlantic slave trade on Africa, including the development of the kingdoms of the Ashanti and Dahomey.”

So, Bill and Melinda Gates are using their vast fortune to empower the thought police. Worse yet, it's an exercise in self-loathing. The Gateses and their experts do not understand that diminishing and demeaning the nation will demoralize children. Children who are taught not to feel pride in their nation will not feel pride in their own achievements. They will be prone to more psychological dysfunction.

But, Common Core does not stop at indoctrination. Bizarrely, it does not want to teach handwriting.

McCaughy explains:

Common Core eliminates handwriting, the basis of communication for over two thousand years. Students learn to print in kindergarten and first grade, but then instruction shifts to keyboards. The next generation will not be able to read an historical document in its original, or even a letter from Grandma. Worse, scientists warn this ignores the proven connection between writing and absorbing information. Kids will learn less and remember less.

Worse yet, even if you send your children to private school or prefer to homeschool them, you will have to use Common Core standards. The program that McCaughy calls ObamaCore has now become the basis for SAT and Act test:

Private schools and home schooling won’t shield you if you want your children to compete for college. ACT and SAT tests are already being aligned with Common Core. This is a No Exit system.
Call it a soft tyranny.
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Quibcag: Not technically a quibcag. The teacher is cute, but she's not an anime girl. This is a cartoon supplied by our own Baloo at http://baloocartoons.com/

1 comment:

  1. Texas has rejected Common Core. BTW, it's not just Common Core that has ejected teaching kids cursive writing and replaced with keyboarding. My opinion of self hating white liberals has been stated elsewhere. Essentially, they are trashing America instead of leaving a working country for the next generation of not quite so white Americans. They can and should be teaching the next generation of Americans to be proud of the ideals this country is based on and the "dead White men" who created them.

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