Since 2010, the states one by one have been adopting the Common Core Standards in education. These standards were intended to bring uniformity of what was being taught across the nation. In other words, little Johnny who is in 3rd grade in Nebraska would be learning the same set of skills as little Susie in 3rd grade in Alabama. The standards were supposed to be rigorous and high reaching, but in reality have shown to be less rigorous than most state standards they are intended to replace. Instead of high reaching, the Common Core reaches more to the middle. Fun fact to note here, the bulk of curriculum behind these standards wasn’t even written when the states adopted it.
The Common Core curriculum aligned lessons that have surfaced recently in the media and those landing on Facebook pages, Twitter and the like, have led many parents to wonder in horror exactly what little Johnny and Susie are learning. Case in point, a rather disturbing English lesson that is aligned with Common Core coming out of a South Milwaukee High School. In this lesson, kids are asked to decide who gets to get into a fictitious lifeboat based on religious and political views, race and sexual orientation. Sounds like a Benetton ad gone horribly wrong, no? Mind you, not all lessons you see popping up in the media like this one are specific to the Common Core curriculum. Some existed before the standards were adopted. Frankly, I don’t find comfort in either notion.
— Vicki Mckenna (@VickiMcKenna) October 18, 2013
Twitchy has a close up of the text of the image in that tweet.
In this case, our kids might have to cheat in order to win with Core aligned lessons like this one. I hence have dubbed this lesson The Identity Politics Kobayashi Maru. An alternative name in our universe might be ‘GOP Messaging Maru’. Anyway, Captain Kirk beat it:
Another Kobayashi Maru style lesson teaches 4th grade kids about their “White privilege”. EAG news looked at teaching guides being produced by the Zaner-Bloser company and found this reference to “White privilege” in the 4th grade section:
This guide is for 4th grade teachers, and it contains texts and lessons that have the common theme of “Meeting Challenges.”
This particular lesson is based on a book called “The Jacket.” The Zaner-Bloser folks obviously consider this an important book because they designed a two-week lesson plan for it.
The story centers around a young white boy named Phil who wrongly accuses an African-American student of stealing his brother’s jacket.
It’s a fun little book about racism and white privilege – a left-wing concept that teaches African Americans the values of American society are designed to benefit white people.
Lovely. Those doubting indoctrination can chew on that one.
For more facts and information on Common Core, I recommend checking out the site I contribute to in North Carolina called StopCommonCoreNC.org.
Of particular use is the resource page:
Rise in Home Schooling
Common Core designed and aligned or not, these lessons are likely playing a part of the rise in home schooling. The mere mention of the words ‘zero tolerance’ will make most people with kids cringe. Parents I’ve talked to who have pulled their kids out to home school directly cite the big reason for their switch being linked to wanting more control over the content of what their children were learning. One mother I spoke to said that, for her, watching the increasing government presence in their lives overall made her look more closely at the impact of increasing government overreach was having on her children. That meant looking at the public school her three kids attended. They didn’t like the broad influences they saw and pulled their kids out.
Parents are looking for more customization for their children’s educations. Glenn Reynolds wrote an article about that very concept of customizing your kid’s schooling. Earlier this week, fellow M-7er Linda Szugyi mentioned this same article. We clearly have amazing taste in reading. Heh. Back to Professor Reynolds.
The article was titled, How Home Schooling Threatens the Education Monopoly. Here is the opening, but read the whole thing:
“What about home schooling? You know, it’s not just for scary religious people any more.” That’s a line from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and it should strike fear into the hearts, not of vampires, but of public-school administrators everywhere.
The fact is, Americans across the country — but especially in large, urban school systems — are voting with their feet and abandoning traditional public schools, to the point that teachers are facing layoffs. Some are going to charter schools, which are still public but are run more flexibly. Some are leaving for private schools. But many others are going another step beyond traditional education, and switching to online school or even pure home schooling.
What the article doesn’t cover is the anxiety some moms out here have about taking that leap. Moms like yours truly, for example. So what’s holding me back? This question opens up a new can of worms to possibly discuss and write about another time. Stay tuned. Hope you enjoyed my Magnificent Seven Debut!