Skip to main content

No way out

Common core is pushing a deeply flawed teaching model on all American students

No way out

(Krieg Barrie)

My children are 33, 32, 25, and 21, so I thought I had seen the last of their elementary school. But a fourth-grade teacher I know on a first-name basis granted me an hour during her lunch break, inviting along her colleague across the hall, and we talked Common Core over yogurt at miniature desks in M.’s classroom. (WORLD agreed not to use their names in order to protect their jobs.)

“We’re flying the plane as we build it,” said M., commenting on the helter-skelter nature of this first year of implementation of the new federal school standards. (Let’s drop the canard that they are state-led standards.) “Last spring they gave us ‘curriculum maps’ but no resources to go with it. And they don’t want us to use the old reading and math. So they’re telling us to come up with lessons on our own.”

“Sounds like ‘bricks without straw,’” I said, remembering another unreasonable mandate millennia earlier. “They keep adding more to our plate, but they never take anything off. … We’re given too much power and authority—and stress. … It’s the illusion of lots of freedom but it’s only an illusion—because of the tests.”

“Teaching to the test” is what Common Core teachers do because it’s all they can do. (Picture Lucy Ricardo and the chocolate factory.) “We’re supposed to teach less, more thoroughly. But we’re only teaching less, not more thoroughly,” said M. Instead they have to make time for pointless complications. “I ask the other teachers, ‘Did you get to elapsed time yet? 

If you want little Johnny to go to college, then whatever you teach him at home, he had better be ready to affirm on test day that Columbus was a bad guy and global warming is man-made.

Measurements? Acute angles?’ Many of us are finding that we’re missing pieces.”

The de-emphasis on memorization of facts concerns both M. and K.: “Some things [in Common Core] are not developmentally appropriate.” K. worries about the danger of exalting “process” to the downplaying of getting the right answer. She was speaking about math at this point, but I jotted in my notepad: “history teaching/moral equivalency.” The CC way is ramen-in-a-cup, ready-made history units produced by Core-aligned publishers, reducing complicated historical events to packets of three or four selected documents, accompanied by “Guiding Questions.” But who writes the questions?

This brings us to the dark side of Common Core. Brad McQueen, a teacher I met not in his brick and mortar classroom but his book The Cult of Common Core, had been sent to Chicago by Arizona’s Department of Education to bone up on the Common Core standards they had just begun implementing. It started his journey down an Orwellian rabbit hole of federal and corporate takeover of education, and of states selling their soul for 30 pieces of 2009 Stimulus silver.

McQueen learned that teacher evaluation is based on how the kiddos do on the tests. New online grade books, lesson plans, online textbooks and tests will allow powers that be to see exactly what the teacher is teaching. What better enforcement method for compliance? If your profession is on the line, who among you will not adjust your teaching?

“What better way to slowly, progressively, change the country’s mindset than to have control over our children’s minds by having full control of our education system?” writes McQueen. “Progressives have already infiltrated our school systems with revisionist history and pseudoscience. The Common Core is just the final phase of their control. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have one national/world mindset and stop having to deal with all these pesky states and localities pushing the individualism thing with differing political views and mindsets?”

Think you’ll escape through private or home schooling? Standardized tests are being redesigned to be in alignment with Common Core. By a stunning quirk of fate, a chief architect of Common Core, David Coleman, is also the president of the College Board. The new PSAT rolls out this year, and the new SAT debuts in 2016. If you want little Johnny to go to college, then whatever you teach him at home, he had better be ready to affirm on test day that Columbus was a bad guy and global warming is man-made.

Beware of deep-pocketed men bearing gifts. Common Core is about school curriculum like the Mafia is about pizza parlor management.

Email aseupeterson@wng.org

Comments

  • Rich277
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the input everyone.

  • Glouish
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    The thoughts and ways of our Jesus are not ours, as his disciples, and he shall indeed cause all things to work together for our good, as individual families belonging to our Lord. Nevertheless, and for these reasons, we must, by the grace of our God, watch and pray, and be diligent to raise our sons and daughters in the admonition and instruction of the Lord. As Job said, thousands of years ago, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth, And . . . I shall see God." Yes, he shall, in the end, be victorious, and we shall share in his victory.

  • MTJanet
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    Yes, homeschooling will be a help for K-12, but I understand that entry to college may be nearly impossible without the ""right answers" a la Columbus was a cad, etc.  We will need Christian colleges to send our children to as they "flunk" the new SATs.  The only good note - as it gets darker, Christ's light shines brighter.  

  • Janet B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    And in answer to "how could this happen," let me recommend some books.  Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning by Paul E. Peterson, gives an excellent overview of the development of education in America.  A discerning reader will see the points that led to forced - but not better - education.  Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon, by Robin Eubanks, shows the purpose The Elites (my name for those who make the rules) have for education in this country.  The Underground History of American Education, by John Taylor Gatto, shows a little of both.

  • Janet B
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    "By a stunning quirk of fate, a chief architect of Common Core, David Coleman, is also the president of the College Board."Quirk of fate?  I don't think so. The Elite (of which David Coleman is one) have been planning this for a long time.

  • RMF
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    Thanks for this piece. As anyone with even a brief interaction with these classrooms and "standards" can easily surmise, this really is a federal takeover of local education. This president is unwilling to exert American power overseas to protect American interests and to defend America herself, but is keen to insert the federal government into our daily lives here at home.Common Core is supposed to be a set of standards and curriculum. What it in fact is (in terms of classroom materials), is Language Arts (English, reading, writing) based on the Core Knowledge Curriculum, and Singapore-style math. That's it. With Common Core the emphasis is strongly on math and reading/writing, to the exclusion of almost every other subject. Other subjects are taught as part of the English and math studies. So the first casualties under this new regime are civics, science, history, foreign languages, music, arts, literature. The goal of this new curriculum is to prepare children "for the workplace." Or as the Communists used to say and still do in some places, "to educate the proletariat" for service.Any American who is interested in raising children to be God fearing, free thinking Americans who understand and value America as a unique country under God should steer away from Common Core, because it will be a stumbling block for you.

  • Richard H's picture
    Richard H
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    Three other thoughts; 1.  The digitized systems are open to 3rd party vendors of the PPP which exposes the student and his family to data mining..  Privacy is a concept of the past, now.2.  Education costs will skyrocket as this is a field day for all enterprises within the PPP via contracts and each child gets a taxpayer funded notepad or laptop to plug into the system3.  Another term for psychological profiling is Mental Health testing.

  • Richard H's picture
    Richard H
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    Rich277,The very first thing to understand is that the Common Core is not just standards (another canard), it is a fully integrated program including new standards, specific 'teaching' methods, a statewide longitudinal data system, SLDS, on each child (think NSA surveillance at its worst) a nationalized testing and assessment system that drives the curriculum.  What is happening is that the Common Core program is going fully digital, controlled at the national level with unaccountable Public Private Partnerships (some call this crony capitalism).  Besides the Politically Correct ideology (cultural Marxism) built into the curriculum on the Cognitive Domain side there is BF Skinner's Operant Conditioning built in as well to mess with the Affective Domain of the student.  The Affective Domain is the values, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs of the child.  The digitized system (the student's SLDS, digitized instruction and continual digitized assessments) is heavily controlled for psychological profiling each student and directing their development the way the PPP wants them to become without parent nor teacher control.  One other thing to add to this mess is what Obamacare now requires.  The SLDS begins at birth in the hospital.  The SLDS contains family, health, psychological and temperament profiles on each student that will also be used during his working life by his employers.  A word for this is Technocracy......welcome to a Brave New World.One other thing......Common Core is a Servile Arts program geared primarily for skill development for career as opposed to a liberal arts program geared for development of the whole person who can think clearly and critically.

  • Greg Burtnett
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    TinaH,I am the Administrator of Hope In Grace Academy that meets daily in my home with my (state credentialed) wife as the primary teacher along with other co-op moms adding to the blessing.I want to point out the fallacy that HSers are 'always always always' anything let alone 'far exceeding'. There are far too many factors to consider only one of which is that some parents are lousy teachers. We must not throw the baby out with the bath water. I object on principle to the feds taking over almost anything except national security and we see how well they are doing with that. But we must separate evidence from 'proof' (we have proof about relatively few things); and we must always avoid always and never succumb to using never. Our case will be better made in the marketplace if we humble ourselves in our word choices (something WMag excels at). I seek to use the idea that if I can answer two or three arguments with a line or two the person arguing usually can't muster more. Obviously this entails a deeper knowledge you would be only too happy to express over coffee or tea (and concerning education of children I would bet that like my wife you have much more knowledge than the average person, likely more than myself included).Humbly,Greg Burtnett

  • Rich277
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    Maybe I'm a little caffeine-deficient this morning, but I'm having trouble grasping how, exactly, the standards are morphing into all the craziness we see taught in the name of Common Core.  I'm not a fan of national standards; I'm just having trouble envisioning the step-by-step process this is happening.  Could someone walk us through it?  I've heard from advocates that the standards aren't to blame; it's the people at the state level that are inserting these weird ideas.

  • TInaH's picture
    TInaH
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    Actually, we can escape it by homeschooling (or sending our children to private schools that do not use common core - which, sadly, are not as plentiful as they should be). Why? Homeschoolers have never been taught to any test - instead, they are taught to read thoroughly and deeply, write effectively, and think clearly and critically - and they have always, always, always far exceeded their institutionally-schooled peers on standardized tests. That should not change with common core, which is a dumbing-down if ever there was one. The only way they can truly snare homeschoolers if if we cave into the fear-mongering by David Coleman and his ilk and start thinking we need to teach our kids to common core. That's what they want, of course. But if we hold our ground and continue to teach truth, our children will be able to jump the ridiculous common core hoops and come out the other side being, perhaps, the only truly well-educated people still standing. IF we don't give in!

  • ruralnebr
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 12:20 pm

    I have to say, this piece makes me SHUDDER!  

  • PaulC
    Posted: Thu, 04/21/2016 02:26 pm

    I think that there is an agreement at least in many if not most believers in Jesus that the  MANIA over global warming or climate change IS MAN made.