The greatest goal of a solid education is to give students the ability to think, reason, and discern. Learning various disciplines like algebra and writing are simply the tools for this. For instance, mathematics exposes a student to rudimentary logic, and writing is argument, stimulating development of the skills of analysis and reason. I recently attended a local forum on Common Core, hosted by our local newspaper, with representatives for both sides of the issue, and I was completely astonished to hear our Superintendent of Schools say, “I’m not sure learning long division is even all that necessary anymore. These kids will always have calculators.” Despite his title, his attitude is antithetical to the basic tenets of education.
The event was heavily attended – standing room only – by anti-Common Core activists, and there was a rowdy mood among the crowd. They felt betrayed by the unilateral implementation of the greatest overhaul of the country’s education system in, well, ever. Nobody voted on this, no parents were ever consulted, and even educators were mostly left out of the discussion. The Common Core was developed by bureaucrats – but why? And why did the states willingly adopt it, even before it was written?
The answer to that is as old as business: money. Of course, there are myriad reasons why money should not dictate our education methods, not the least of which is that nothing should dictate in a democracy.
Toward the end of forum, when they were cutting the question mics in the audience, a nervous blond woman standing in front of me walked up to the mic insisting on asking her question. The moderator tried to silence her, saying we had run out of time, but the audience encouraged him to allow her to speak – we weren’t in any hurry. “There is a video that shows Common Core implementation – telling children to choose between ‘Mommy asks me to clean my room,’ and ‘Mommy nags me to clean my room.’ The correct answer is ‘nags.’ Why are they bringing this kind of anti-parent teaching into our classrooms? And how can you assure us this won’t happen here?”
The Superintendent of Schools readily suggested we let the kids decide what seems appropriate. With horrible, telling gaffs like that, it’s no wonder the schools had not invited their parents to the forum, why most parents have never heard of CC.
When a state imposes a broad new curriculum in our schools without any input from educators or parents, no vote, no discussion, that is a totalitarian act, and parents and school boards that passively accept that infringement on their rights shouldn’t be surprised or upset when they are told their opinions are no longer necessary. The state just proved it.
As the forced implementation of this new curriculum already indicates, Common Core is the antithesis of traditional education: it aims to stifle individualism and restrict learning. Some call it behavior modification, some call it brainwashing.
Or, if you insist, “re-education.” Education, it is not.