Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Common Core Curriculum

                If you think ObamaCare is a disaster, wait until you see the results of Common Core Curriculum!  Nine parents of seventh- and eighth-grade students at Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon, do not care for the newly adopted Common Core standards.  They pulled their youth out of math class for one hour each day to teach them at home.  Their reason for doing so was a sudden drop in grades and performance.  Students who had always been “A” and “B” students were bringing home “Ds” and “Fs”.  It seems that the “Common Core math standards call for fewer numbers and formulas and more word problems and real-world scenarios, along with more group work.”

                Some Catholic scholars critiqued Common Core standards and issued a statement, which reads in part:  “Promoters of Common Core say that it is designed to make America’s children `college and career ready.’  We instead judge Common Core to be a recipe for standardized workforce preparation.”  The critique also stated:  “Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education.  The heart of its philosophy, as far as we can see, is that it is a waste of resources to `over-educate’ people.”  

                That is a very powerful statement – but there is more!  U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is blaming the opposition to Common Core standards on “wealthy white mothers upset to learn their children are not as bright as they thought.”  According to the Washington Post, Duncan told a group of state school superintendents, “It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who – all of a sudden – their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary.  You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on `My child’s going to be prepared.’  That can be a punch in the gut.”

                The best argument against Common Core Curriculum may have come from a high school student.  Ethan Young, a senior at Farragut High School in Knox County, Tennessee, took his case to the school board recently.  There he “issued a brief and incredibly insightful address on the problems with Common Core standards” about “why he believes the school district should drop the new national education standards.”

                Young opened his case by stating that the guidelines “were never voted on by Congress, the Department of Education [or] by local or state governments.” He said, “The president essentially bribed states into implementation via `Race to the Top,’ offering $4.35 billion taxpayer dollars to participating states, $500 million of which went to Tennessee.  And much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked so well the first time.  If nothing else, these standards are a glowing conflict of interest and they lack the research they allegedly received.”

                This extremely bright young man recognized that the Common Core Curriculum show a “mistrust of teachers.”  “I stand before you because I care about education, but also because I want to support my teachers.  And just as they fought for my academic achievement, so I want to fight for their ability to teach.  This relationship is at the heart of instruction, yet there will never be a system by which it is accurately measured.”

                Young argued that “standards-based education is ruining the way we teach and learn.” He said that legislators and administrators are telling him “that’s just the way things work;” then dared to ask “Why?”  He did not wait for someone else to answer his question but answered it himself:  “Bureaucratic convenience.  It works with nuclear reactors; it works with business models, why can’t it work with students?  I mean how convenient, calculating exactly who knows what and who needs what.  I mean, why don’t we just manufacture robots instead of students?  They last longer and they always do what they’re told.”

                The intelligent young man explained the problem:  “education is unlike every other bureaucratic institute in our government” because the “task of teaching is never quantifiable.  If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything.  I’d like to repeat that.  If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything.”  He understands that “creativity, appreciation, inquisitiveness” cannot be measured even though they are the “purpose of education.”

                This young man understands more than many adults do.  You can hear more of his “lecture” here. 

                Do we want our children and youth to become “robots” that are able to spout information at any given time?  Or do we want them to rise to their potential as sons and daughters of Heavenly Father that are prepared for whatever challenge is in their future?  I believe that Common Core Curriculum “dumbs down” the education of our students in order to have more control over them.  Many of the people who voted to give Barack Obama a second term in the White House are low-information voters.  If we allow Common Core standards to remain in our school, we will have generation after generation of voters who know nothing important.  I agree with Ethan Young:  “Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves – pleading, screaming and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds.  We teach to inspire.  We teach to equip.  The Careers will come naturally.”

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