by Linda Szugyi
Words have meaning.
That’s precisely the reason why progressives are always finding new words and phrases to describe the same old things. The meaning of a word has a pesky little way of conveying truth, and when your goals run contrary to public opinion about said truth, then you had better run to the drawing board and find some other way to sell your snake oil, because the words “snake oil” aren’t going to sell many bottles.
“Rebranding” is the term used nowadays, and when it means that an old marketing ploy no longer connects to the consumer, it is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, how many women today would be sold on a soap product that promises to preserve her daintiness?
When it means that an ideology no longer connects to voters, however, “rebranding” is a Very Bad Thing. After all, we are talking about putting a social and governmental plan into operation, not choosing between different soaps.
When ideology is the subject at hand, then “rebranding” is another word for lying. George Orwell knew that a long time ago. Alas, rebranding often works. So, the Florida legislature does not repeal the laws implementing Common Core, but it does strike the words “Common Core” from state law, and replace it with “Florida Standards.”
Apparently, Iowa and Arizona are also undergoing the “rebranding” procedure for Common Core implementation. That which we call a rose by another name would not be as sweet, it seems.
In other words, if it smelled good wouldn’t we be satisfied by calling it Common Core?
Yes we would. Common Core, however, stinks. In fact, my rudimentary research for this post reaffirmed the fact that Common Core is educational snake oil. Shoot, the item at the top of one Google search was an ad for “blamecommoncore.com,” which explains that:
“This website will seek to bring some clarity to this debate by using a common sense approach to the Common Core, based on facts and reasoned arguments. . . . CICERO Systems provides this source for Common Core information as a service to the educational community. We invite feedback on all aspects of Common Core, without a political agenda and grounded in factual evidence.”
They are a source of Common Core information . . . as a service. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that their eTextbook software bundle will “revolutionize the way you teach!” Hmm. It seems that the very act of selling a product is being rebranded as a public service.
Speaking of rebranding, we need a new language in order to discuss the Common Core standards, don’t you think? I know the standards themselves already sound like a new language. For example, check out the silly way Standard 9-10 LS.6 explains high schoolers should learn enough words to communicate like an adult, and should be able to learn new words on their own. While you are at it, notice the lesson that meets this standard. It features nursery rhymes and Kanye West. Nursery rhymes. And Kanye West.
Anyhoo, some of us foil hat wearers and cottoning on to the real meaning of words and phrases like “rigor,” “assessments,” and “college and career ready.” So perhaps educators need to come up with a new layer of impenetrable verbiage. Thinking Maps has a template ready: A Common Language for the Common Core.
In only two short pages, this “common language” manages to be “peculiarly riddled with such stunning Orwellian-inspired ditties like change agent, change maker, education pioneer, thought leader, thought merchant, groupwork, groupthink and mindshift.”
I can understand that businesses want to use the education overhaul as an opportunity to make money. But the fact that many teachers are actually sold on this profoundly silly doublespeaking fluff talk really boggles the mind.
Calvin would be proud.
Here is my auto-biographical epilogue. I should tell you more about myself, but if you enjoyed my writing then really you should be thanking Da Tech Guy by subscribing.