Race to the bottom!
Common Core is coming to your kids’ school, moms and dads—and it wants you to rest assured that it is, to quote its own hype, “internationally benchmarked,” “robust,” “aligned with college and work expectations,” “rigorous,” and “evidence-based.” Unfortunately, every word of that self-bestowed encomium is a bald faced lie, except maybe “rigorous” which is sort of hard to argue about, it being subject to interpretation. You might think the same about “robust,” except that in research terminology “robust” refers to findings that are especially persuasive because they comprise data drawn from a wide range of probability distributions. Suffice it that Common Core’s educational plan possesses no data whatsoever because it’s never been tried anywhere. Until now!
Remember way back in February of 2009 when our Beloved Helmsman drove the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” through congress? Maybe you’ll remember it more readily if we just say, “the stimulus package?” Right, because calling it the “American Astronomical Deficit Creation Initiative to Bankrupt the Country and Flood Unions and other Traditionally Left-wing Organizations with Money to Serve as a Slush Fund for Democrats while Sending the Rest Abroad or Financing Hopelessly Ridiculous Green Industries that will go Bankrupt Anyway while Doing Absolutely Nothing for the Infrastructure or Creating a Single Job Act” might have been a bit wordy and probably less appealing to the general public. Well, you probably remember being told that a generous chunk of that effusion of Obama’s 800 billion-dollar beau geste was going to help educate your kids, right? And in fact, it was! Part of the President’s bill states that:
“The [stimulus] provides $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top Fund, a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform…” And blah, blah, blah…So what Rappin’ Preezy was actually telling us there, in case you missed it, was that a gargantuan imposition of governmental standards was coming to your kid’s school, straight from the brain trust empowered to “fundamentally transform” our country, because armies of brainwashed, under-educated children would be needed to supinely maintain the people in power tasked with America’s destruction. To effectuate this end, vast amounts of money were offered states that “voluntarily” opted to implement this wondrous new educational plan, so who could possibly resist such an offer? The answer is: Texas, Nebraska Alaska and Virginia. Unfortunately, forty-five other states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Minnesota partially adopted the program.
The Obama Administration is engaged in a tenacious and largely successful effort to nationalize American public education in order to ensure that a standard, radically left-wing agenda is taught with near identicality in every public school across America. In order to establish this glossy, superficially attractive curriculum in our children’s schools, the Obamans never sought congressional approval; rather, they flooded states that accepted their educational format with stimulus dollars, and withheld such emoluments from states that resisted. Because the packaging was skillfully handled and Common Core at first glance seems a salubrious means of bringing every school district up to a lofty national standard, it was practically irresistible—although taxpayers in the various states must still foot the bill for state-level implementation, which is a little surprise for the local yokels.
Now you CSCOPE–now you don’t!
Readers who recall our previous (and highly successful) battle to save Texas’s children from the Red Menace will detect amazing similarities to the horrific CSCOPE educational plan that was tested in Texas schools [read full WOOF story here] and flunked. Texas scrapped CSCOPE and sought to assign blame for its existence, but the corporation pushing it into Texan schools turned out to be a straw operation and the whole circus vanished in a puff of blue smoke. Where do you suppose it went?
Like the Blob, Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, and Fu Manchu, CSCOPE never died, it simply did what radical liberalism always does when caught and terminated. It changed its name and came right back. We now have Common Core in our schools, right on schedule, which is to say, the same old painted lady in a new dress. Most of the observers of this phenomenon, even some of the sharpest right-wing websites, suppose themselves to be viewing disparate plagues, one of which fizzled, one of which remains—but this is not true, for as Father Merrin tells Father Karras in The Exorcist, “There is only one demon.” In this case, the missing link commonly overlooked by conservatives in a hurry, is Linda Darling Hammond, about whom WOOF has complained previously—and about whom we are about to complain some more! Rigorously, to coin a phrase!
Linda Darling Hammond was the chief architect of CSCOPE and its Siamese twin, Common Core. She is also the author of the subversive, A Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity will Determine our Future, and by equity, of course, she means forced equality, which of course, in turn, requires an all-powerful state…which she routinely advocates. Hammond almost single-handedly overrode the learned objections of a small army of educationists (assembled, ironically, by Hammond to serve as Common Core’s “validation committee”) who refused to endorse the Common Core standards.
She personally wrote or oversaw the writing of all the enthusiastic assertions of Common Core’s superiority despite an utter dearth of empirical evidence that it was worth a tinker’s damn. She personally wrote or oversaw the writing of the standard tests, and had a hand in the system’s copyrighting, because a girl’s got to make a buck—toward which end Hammond headed Obama’s education-policy team and remains a member of Obama’s subversive Equity and Excellence Commission, the meddlesome EEC. In her lectures she warns against the dangers of a “multiple choice world” in education–and her speeches make clear her contempt for any sort of choice–period. Unsurprisingly she is best friends forever with Bombin’ Bill Ayers, the intelligentsia’s favorite unregenerate home-grown terrorist, anti-American polemicist and, somehow or other, education authority. Ayers is a beloved icon of the intellectual establishment. He speaks at teachers associations and Universities where he is treated as royalty, explaining that the job of educators is to help kids “re-imagine citizenry” as a global responsibility because, as he is fond of declaring, “the empire [that’s us, by the way] is declining and that game is over!”
Bill and Melinda Gates are huge supporters of Common Core—and if you think Bill Gates is just a capitalistic wonk with some lovably idiosyncratic habitudes, consider that he is fresh back from co-hosting UNESCO’s eugenics conference in London (because even though Reagan withdrew the United States from UNESCO in 1984 because of its overtly communist agenda, but we are back now, up to our elbows in it, thanks to “W” who explained in 2003 that UNESCO had “reformed,” without explaining the basis for his delusion). Anyhow, Linda and Bill bankroll a considerable portion of Common Core, through their educational foundations. The Gateses are particularly obsessed with throwing billions at education and have produced their share of monumental disasters beginning with their “learning communities” initiative. In fact, between 2000 and 2008 they played havoc with the established school systems in 45 states and the District of Columbia, but their Small Schools Workshop proved a failure, possibly because Bill Gates knows nothing about education—or possibly because his billions are being hurled at American education as a weapon of mass destruction, with or without his cognizance. There are, to be sure, other major players with fat wallets backing the socialist subversion of our public schools (mainly the usual suspects), but the size of the Gates fortune, compounded by the additional billions transferred to him by the Leftist Warren Buffet, dwarfs the war chests of his fellow travelers.
The critics speak– in the wilderness!
Stanford University’s renowned mathematician, James Milgram, studied Common Core in detail and announced that it will put American students 2 years behind their counterparts in other developed nations. He refused to sign off on the standards package, pointing out that the same methods had been adopted first in Russia but had failed there miserably and been replaced. His views were echoed by Professor Jonathan Goodman of New York University who bluntly stated that the Common Core standards represent “significantly lower expectations with respect to algebra and geometry than the published standards of other countries.”
Joy Pullmann of the Heartland Institute ferreted out an internal report by the subversive Department of Education confirming the data mining function of the Common Core agenda—including “using cameras to judge facial expressions, an electronic seat that judges posture, a pressure-sensitive computer mouse and a biometric wrap on kids’ wrists.” Sound like fun, comrades? It’s not just brainwashing, it’s surveillance, too—and at such reasonable rates!
On April 6, even the subversive Washington Post felt compelled to publish a public-school teacher’s letter of resignation that lambasted the program. Gerald Conti, a long-time social studies teacher in New York declared that he could not go on teaching under the Common Core protocols, adding that, “‘Data driven’ education seeks only conformity, standardization…and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic…” Conti went on to warn readers that “Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education.” Of course, Conti errs (as do most of Common Core’s critics) in supposing the effort misguided—it is, in fact, every bit and precisely as guided as a cruise missile.
The highly respected software creator Ze’ev Wurman, himself a math expert who served for over a decade as an adviser to California and Washington DC on the subject of mathematics in public schools was taken aback to discover that the program delayed most adding and subtracting until the 4th grade.
Further examination revealed that students would not be expected to evince finesse in the art of multiplication until 5th grade. The program does not delve into the mysteries of long division until 6th grade, and neglects any serious treatment of fractions, decimals, or algebra. Traditional geometry is replaced within an experimental “conceptual approach” which might be better denominated “geometry appreciation.” (See the pretty shapes?) This system has never been so much as pilot-tested in America. In his lengthy denunciation of the program, Wurman wrote that, “instead of doing the grunt work of hammering times tables and basic functions into kids’ heads first, the faddists have turned to wacky, wordy non-math alternatives to encourage ‘conceptual’ understanding — without any mastery of the fundamentals of math.” (And this was one of the kinder portions of his review!)
But who really needs to do math anymore, right? We all have calculators now anyway—and the Russians took over our space program five years ago, so what’s the bother? Let them do the math! The important stuff is being able to read and write, isn’t it?
Well…you don’t exactly have to know how to read to measure up to Common Core’s “standards.” (Which standards, by the way, are called ‘standards’ in a kind of whimsical sense—they never having been standardized anywhere on earth). The only reason students might have to read all that well is if they were going to tackle those old, really thick books—you know—the ones with no pictures that have hard words in them, like “War and Peace,” or maybe “Moby Dick,” and who wants to read those kinds of books anyway? But hey, Common Core looked at the problem students may encounter trying to read the classics and came up with a hip, postmodern solution. Common Core is de-emphasizing “great literary works.” This de-emphasizing will help your child in several ways. First, he will learn fairness and equality, because it is elitist, biased, ethnocentric and in many respects racist (Huck Finn is gone on that score) to call some books “classics,” while disallowing others as somehow less than classic, just because a bunch of stuffy old Caucasians with a bunch of traditional educations didn’t see their relevance—or worse, didn’t care to see it! And poetry? Are you kidding? Trying to get a kid to understand some longwinded, symbol-crammed opus by T.S. Elliot or Ezra Pound (who were in any case a conservative Catholic and a fascist, respectively) is ridiculous nowadays. Better to skip such bourgeois gibberish entirely, but when it must be encountered, the Common Core method obviates having any idea what the author was saying—because this turns out to be irrelevant!
“Deconstruction” for the bourgeois in a hurry:
Do you know what deconstruction is? (No, it didn’t follow the Civil War!) Here is WOOF’s three easy pieces primer on postmodern deconstructionism. Step one: Not long ago there was this Gay bald dude who was very smart, and his name was Michel Foucault. Well, Michel gave voice to the theory that in our modern, media-oriented age, truth is determined not by what is objectively or empirically knowable, but rather by “discourse,” or rather, what the generally accepted opinion is on a societal level of belief and acceptance. This basic replacement of objective reality with socially consensual reality is called “constructivism” and before you run off to France to strangle Michel Foucault, consider two important points: First, you’d be wasting your time because Michel was –er—incautious, as it were, so he died of AIDS a while back; and second, you really shouldn’t get too mad at him because all he was saying is what any dweller in the age of Obama should have figured out for himself, namely that truth in our time has been replaced by popular supposition, example: Barack Obama is brilliant. Example: Glenn Beck is a racist. Example: Raising taxes increases revenue. Three statements that are born aloft by established discourse, despite having no basis in fact. Get it? By the way, Michel Foucault rejected the postmodernist label because—well—he wasn’t one!
Step two: Building on Foucault’s structuralist/constructivist insights, however, some really nutty French philosophers like Jacques Derrida and some home-grown specimens like Richard Rorty have expanded Foucault’s thinking into the complete rejection of any reality beyond whatever seems actual in the subjective view of the percipient. So how crazy is that? But this sort of thinking has been moving into American education for decades now, and in its most observable form it operates as literary “deconstruction.”
Step three: So, if your kid has to read, say, Great Expectations, and he doesn’t understand it, that’s not a problem, because from the standpoint of deconstructionism, the book means whatever he says it means, and if he is creative and imaginative in suggesting that the book is about, say, a mental patient driven nuts by the British industrial age who thinks he sees an old woman catch fire and then realizes he’s crazy and can’t figure out whether he catches the girl he’s after or not, because he worked too much without any social support and wound up in a psychotic trance—well, that’s great, because that’s what the book means to your kid. Full points! Your kid won’t be encountering too many “great books,” anyhow, because the Common Core emphasis is on “alternative literacies” (got that?) These tend to be works, literary or otherwise, deemed more “relevant” to your kid’s social and artistic concerns—so he can read the lyrics to Eminem’s latest CD, or explain what he got out of viewing an episode of “True Blood” on TV, and score just as well as if he completely and plausibly explicated “Finnegan’s Wake.” Unsurprisingly, themes involving “social justice” are especially encouraged. As veteran educator Mary Black, program monitor at the Texas Education Agency and faculty at the University of Texas Austin warns in her widely circulated critique of the new standards, “The literary classics have been stripped and replaced with books promoting a socialist agenda…. It is certain that it will leave students unable to think for themselves.” Mary Black has a gift for concision!
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, moral relativism is the life’s blood of Common Core. ..but this is moral relativism played by Marxian dialecticians who view relativism as the great equalizer. Brahms? No better than Ludacris. DaVinci? On a par with, maybe, David Wojnarowicz. The Declaration of Independence? Why not Howl by Ginsberg? Or the Vagina Monologues? It all depends on what Johnny gets out of them personally…and the basic subtext is, as Bob Dylan suggested in an entirely different context, “nothing is better, nothing is best…” Grades, for obvious reasons, are dispensed with in Common Core—they being impossible to reconcile with a leveling egalitarianism which aims to eliminate such elitist concepts while annihilating individual belief in order to impose a meta-belief system–the basic ingredient of all brain washing. The Common Core folks call it globalization, but you may safely consider it communism—that same old painted lady, with a United Nations flag for a shawl.
Sandra Stotsky, an English professor at the University of Arizona, was an early critic of the Common Core approach to English, calling it, “An English curriculum overloaded with advocacy journalism or with ‘informational’ articles chosen for their topical and/or political nature,” and you may rest assured, gentle readers, that the advocacy comes entirely from the Left.
History…a dish best served cold?
Then of course there is the problem of history, a subject that stirs so little enthusiasm from Common Core that much of its teaching is allocated to English Departments (and thus to educators who know nothing in particular about history). You might think that such abhorrent practices would anger teachers-and to an extent this is so. But the teachers, in many cases, do not get the big picture. Like honest citizens clucking their tongues over the president’s inexperience (as if Obama spent 5 years running the country into the ground because he just doesn’t know any better), many an educator seems persuaded that Common Core just doesn’t realize the errors of its ways. Example:
Writing for a Georgetown University website, teacher Craig Thurtell takes exception to what he deems “misguided” instructions from Common Core. For instance, Common Core’s exemplar insists that “text dependent questions like ‘why did the North fight the civil War?’ divert students from text comprehension.” The instructions go on to explain that “Answering these sorts of questions require [sic] students to go outside the text, and indeed in this particular instance asking these questions actually undermines what Lincoln is trying to say.” Really? Nonplussed, Thurtell exclaims, “…no historian or history teacher could read the Gettysburg Address in the manner insisted upon by [the Common Core instructional]” adding that Common Core’s “admonitions against a historical approach reveal a disheartening ignorance of historical thinking.” And that’s where the honorable Mr. Thurtell goes wrong! He isn’t paranoid enough to understand what’s going on, but fortunately, dear readers, we are! You see, the creators of this assault on American school children understand history quite well—albeit in a dialectical spiral of Marxian illations—and they know, like all good brainwashers, that words lose power when subjected to dry, philological analysis. David Coleman, the author of Common Core’s “English Learning Arts” standards, specifically advocates teaching such documents “cold,” without historical context, and “without understanding of their purpose.” WOOF is not making this up!
So, while the great books suffer death by deconstruction, the passion and flame of our nation’s history will be reduced to semantic aridity by armies of tedious grammarians. It’s really quite ingenious, Mr. Thurtell…you just have to pull the humanoid mask off these “educationists” and behold the reptiles beneath the veneer.
NB: It is to the advantage of American parents subjected to the Common Core onslaught to obtain their children’s textbooks, and in particular their history texts. They will find that Common Core texts give dismissive shrift to the founding fathers, praise the “wonderful ideas” of Karl Marx, lambaste the Christian faith but heap praise on the accomplishments of Islam while manifesting dewy-eyed admiration for Red China, while reprehending western capitalism as cruel and immiserating. There’s nothing in Common Core history texts explaining why the Colonies seceded from Britain, or the significance or creation of the Constitution or its relationship to the Declaration of Independence. This is all reduced to vacuous vocabulary lessons such as “Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text.” Worse, when Common Core recommends outside reading, it recommends ultra-left-wing histories such as the infamously distorted tome, A History of US, by lovable Joy Hakim, the wildly popular ultra-progressive “historian” who never studied history, whose master’s degree was in education, and whose Goucher College doctorate is honorific….and not in history either!
“The law is an ass…”
In Common Core we have Federal governmental control of our children’s educations by proxy—because Common Core’s army of radical leftist educators is functioning as a “cutout” entity, serving the administration. Do you doubt us? Take a look at California (if you can bear to). Californians, during one of their rare lucid moments, proposed AB484 which has the potential of exempting the state’s kids from Common Core testing. Reaction from the Obamans was instantaneous—on September 9, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan threatened to withhold educational funding from California. He went so far as to insist that federal law requires California to administer tests. Think about that bizarre claim! The tenth amendment reserves such powers as Duncan arrogates to himself to the individual states, not some cadre of elitist social engineers in the West Wing. And then there’s the clear, specific language of the General Education Provisions Act which holds in part that:
“No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system…”
No matter, though—the Obamans realized as early as 2009 that they could ignore laws with impunity. The news media work hard at never noticing such travesties. For instance, Rappin’ Preezy just “suspended” the federal law prohibiting arms sales to groups on the federal list of terrorist organizations so that he could continue arming Al Qaeda in Syria. (Take that, Putin!) This is clearly an impeachable offense, but you haven’t heard anyone mention it, have you? We mean anyone “in the mainstream.” Or to paraphrase Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Boehner…? Boehner….? Boehner…?”
The majority supports it, whatever it is!
A peculiar poll just released by the Harvard journal Education Next shows that 65 percent of Americans support the Common Core program and this evidently up from 63 percent in 2012. This seems especially odd since a PK/Gallup poll that came out last Wednesday maintains that two thirds of Americans have either never heard of Common Core, or don’t know what it consists of. A closer investigation of the Harvard poll reveals that people replied enthusiastically about Common Core only after it was explained by the pollsters that Common Core was something that, “If adopted….would be used to hold the state’s schools accountable.” Apparently nobody at Harvard’s Education Next ever read a basic textbook about unbiased population sampling…or maybe they’re postmodernists and they figure their truth is as good as any…or maybe they’re part of the Worldwide Totalitarian Socialist Conspiracy that governs us? Nahhh.
“The chips are truly down!”
So prepare yourselves for battle, parents of America! The enemy is already within the gates, and the brainwashing has begun in earnest. Many of you thought it was bad before now, but now the teachers’ long-standing prerogative to alter noxious curricula has been eliminated, the anti-Americanism of all too many pedagogues has been universalized, and the lock-step socialization of our children is well underway. Common Core intends to drive a wedge between you and your children, arrogate unto the schools the responsibility to impart values (postmodern relativism), to impart loyalties (to the United Nations and global progressivism) to impart political allegiance (socialism!) and to impart faith—and here Islam is inserted as an anti-Judeo/Christian religion-of-convenience suitable to the purposes of the cynical atheists who created and disseminate this toxin. This battle will not be won by RINOs, or dismayed teachers, or even by embattled bloggers at WOOF—no it can only be won by parents armed with information and aflame with righteous indignation confronting the educationists and the policy makers face to face. So check out your school system! The best source for information detailing your state’s complicity in this epic takeover is available at the 100% WOOF-approved website of Danette Clark [just click here!] Do your research, marshal your facts, find some faces and get in them! You didn’t ask for this fight, but it’s here. You didn’t pick the place, but it’s your own neighborhood—and “The modern champions of communism have selected this as the time. And, ladies and gentlemen, the chips are down—they are truly down.”