With the failings of No Child Left Behind, educators have been eager to jump on board with supporting Common Core State Standards.
The President of the National Education Association (NEA), Dennis Van Roekel praises Common Core saying, “We believe that this initiative is a critical step in state efforts to provide every student with a comprehensive, content rich education. These standards can support the collaboration across states and stakeholders in providing programs, resources and policies that will help overcome the weaknesses and inequities in our schools today.” In looking into Mr. Roekel’s background he is a staunch supporter of Unions and has stood with AFL-CIO leaders, giving a speech about union unity at meeting with the nation’s 12 largest Unions, in 2009. This move surprised many as it was the first time the NEA stood with the leading Unions. www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/us/08labor.html
In developing Common Core several leading ‘Educators’ where asked to be involved with the different subjects. One individual was David Coleman. David Coleman is currently the President of the College Board, a membership organization of high schools and colleges that administers the SAT, the Advanced Placement program and other standardized tests. He is also known as “the” architect of Common Core Standards. www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/education/david-coleman-to-lead-college-board.html
Mr. Coleman believes that there needs to be “Pedagogical Shifts”, or educational shifts, in the way we teach literacy and that more emphasis is needed in highlighting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). He out lines 12 changes in education teaching: 6 for ELA and 6 for Math. You can find out about the specific shifts here: engageny.org/sites/default/files/resource/attachments/common-core-shifts.pdf If you would like to see a video of Mr. Coleman talking about the shifts you may do so here: www.teachersdomain.org/asset/engny_vid_litover/. I could not finish the video as I was disgusted with the whole thing.
Mr. Coleman’s push for more evidence based literacy has guided the ELA standards to incorporate a 70% classical literature/30% informational text starting in 6th grade, slowing converting every year so that by the time the student is in 12th grade they are reading 70% informational text/30% classical literature. A direct quote from Mr. Coleman shows his reasoning and complete lack of understanding human interaction in classical literature.
“Do you know the two most popular forms of writing in the American high school today?…It is either the exposition of a personal opinion or the presentation of a personal matter. The only problem, forgive me for saying this so bluntly, the only problem with these two forms of writing is as you grow up in this world you realize people don’t really give a **** about what you feel or think. What they instead care about is can you make an argument with evidence, is there something verifiable behind what you’re saying or what you think or feel that you can demonstrate to me. It is a rare working environment that someone says, “Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.”
On a side note basis, David Coleman studied English literature at Oxford and classical educational philosophy at Cambridge. You can’t get more classical than that! And yet he “disdains fiction and personal writing.” dianeravitch.net/2012/05/19/who-is-david-coleman/
The complete opposite of Mr. Coleman is Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. Ms. Stotsky was on the board of developing the Common Core ESL standards but would not sign off on them. In her testimony for a Hearing on House Bill No. 2923 April 15, 2011, she stated the following:
“Common Core’s “college readiness” standards for English language arts and reading do not aim for a level of achievement that signifies readiness for authentic college-level work. They point to no more than readiness for a high school diploma (and possibly not even that, depending on where the cut score on tests based on these standards is set). Despite claims to the contrary, they are not internationally benchmarked.”
I encourage you to read her full testimony here: parentsacrossamerica.org/sandra-stotsky-on-the-mediocrity-of-the-common-core-ela-standards/ Also I should say that Ms. Stotsky has offered to the Utah State Board of Education that she would come to Utah for free and write English Language Arts standards that would surpass the current Common Core Standards. The Board has turned her down on her offer.
Just released today in an article of the National Review, Washington Post’s George Will explains:
“The trouble with the new English curriculum is that it largely crowds out classic literature in favor of non-fiction. As teachers and students rebel against boring selections and the gutting of their most popular units, defenders of the Common Core claim that schools have missed qualifications in the new requirements (helpfully laid out in an obscure footnote).
Technically, the new non-fiction requirements can be satisfied in classes other than English. In practice, however, with science teachers unwilling to assign essays, English classes are forced to junk Huckleberry Finn in favor of readings such as “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.” The potential for political abuse in a curriculum heavy with government documents and news articles should be obvious. Given the politics of most teachers, the new non-fiction requirements create a huge opening for leftist indoctrination. And that’s only the beginning of the potential political abuses of the Common Core.” www.nationalreview.com/corner/334645/obamacore-white-house-takes-schools-stanley-kurtz
The importance of reading the classics is left out of the development of the child’s mind, in what it is like to be human! The Common Core ESL standards are nothing short of directions on how to program the future assembly line worker. Take away the soul of the child and you can control the out come of the world. Pure destruction of human interaction, belief in one’s self, courage to over come hardships, showing compassion to loved ones and neighbors.
Common Core ESL standards will destroy an personal identity that is found through relating to characters classical literature. It falls in line with the need to eliminate gender identity, color of skin, economic status, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. The Left/Socialists/Marxists/Progressives/Communists cannot afford to lose the children of the United States of America, for they
could be the antithesis of Freedom if taught! To make my point Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels “considered it absolutely impossible to understand art and literature proceeding only from their internal laws of development. In their opinion, the essence, origin, development, and social role of art could only be understood through analysis of the social system as a whole, within which the economic factor — the development, of productive forces in complex interaction with production relations — plays the decisive role” www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/subject/art/preface.htm
And now with Common Core highly revered among teachers and most parents, I’m afraid that my children will be part of the minority left that knows about freedom of life, liberty and the individual pursuit of happiness.