By:  Pat Austin

Among the many topics covered during CPAC this year has been a good, hard look at Common Core.  Here, on this blog, Lady Liberty does an excellent job covering Common Core topics.  From my point of view, I’m glad to see CPAC and other conservative groups taking a hard look at the monstrosity that is Common Core.

My perspective is that of a classroom teacher; I teach high school English.  While I recognize that the stated intentions behind Common Core are good, I’m not sure I trust the stated intentions.  The oft quoted rationalization behind Common Core is that schools should be teaching the same basic standards across the country:  a kid in Alaska needs to know long-division at the same time a kid in Florida does.  Theoretically this will help kids who move from one school or state to another..

That being said, there’s a whole lot more to Common Core as we all know.  Michelle Malkin has done an excellent job in bringing much of this to light, as has the Heritage Foundation, among others.

My gripe with Common Core at this point is personal.  I resent that it takes all of the decision making out of the hands of the classroom teacher and the local school districts.  Case in point:  for years in tenth grade English I have taught To Kill a Mockingbird.  With the advent of Common Core, TKAM has been bumped down to the ninth grade reading list.  I’m told that “really it’s an eighth grade level book.”  It seems that the Lexile level of To Kill a Mockingbird just isn’t high enough (rigor!) for tenth grade.  Last summer we were given a new reading list from which to choose new novels.  For tenth grade the list is a selection of “world literature” which includes titles such as My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Hosseini, and The Life of Pi by Martell, among others.

Oh, there’s a few classics still there such as The Grapes of Wrath.and Twelve Angry Men.  But, if we’re going to talk about Lexile levels and complex, rigorous text, Twelve Angry Men is not exactly difficult reading.  When I brought up this point, it was suggested that it’s not just the text itself that must be rigorous, but “what you can bring in and do with it.”

Which brings me back to To Kill a Mockingbird.  Why can’t a teacher of any grade level for that matter bring in complex side readings to raise the rigor of any text?  Furthermore, what of the teacher who has a high school class with an average reading level of about fifth grade?  Not that we need to teach down to that, but how frustrated is a kid with a third grade reading level going to be trying to read The Grapes of Wrath or One Hundred Years of Solitude?

As another example, Julius Caesar is not on the reading lists anymore at all.  In tenth grade it’s been replaced with Macbeth (which previously had been grade 12) and the twelfth grade Shakespeare is now Hamlet (which kids will read again in college.)  I’m told this is non-negotiable.  I’m told that Macbeth is more rigorous than Caesar.  Did Shakespeare really sit down and decide to write Macbeth at a higher Lexile level than Caesar?  I’m dumbfounded.

There is an entire generation of kids that will now never know what the ides of March means.

The point of all this is simply that all of this decision making is no longer in the hands of the districts or the schools themselves, not to mention the teacher.  Among the many problems with Common Core, it treats kids as if they are all the same and function on the same level.  Many of the novels are new “touchy feeley” nonsense or are just downright inappropriate as we have seen.

Am I bitter because they’ve ripped my beloved To Kill a Mockingbird from my chalk covered fingers?  You bet I am.  I’ll continue to fight for the American classic until my dying breath.  And I will continue to fight for excellence and high standards in education as well.  But the bottom line in all of this is that the federal government should have no say in the matter.

 

Pat Austin also blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By John Ruberry

Isaac Asimov’s greatest and best-known work was the Foundation series. The plot is centered on the mathematical model created by Professor Hari Seldon–one that can scientifically predict the history of our galaxy. On the surface it appears to be a dry read, but plot twists and intriguing characters make the stories work.

Barack Obama is not a mathematician and he may not even be a reader of science fiction, but he is a believer in psychohistory. Obama all but tells us he knows how the future looks–and what will remain in the past.

Blogger defying the Pacific
Blogger defying the Pacific

Upon his clinching of the Democratic nomination in 2008, Obama the Oracle revealed, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Somehow Obama wasn’t able to predict our ongoing snowy and brutally cold winter.

In 2012, with the campaign slogan of “Forward,” Obama mocked the Republican position on women’s issues, declaring that it was “more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.”

After Vladimir Putin invaded the Crimea, Obama mournfully bemoaned that Russia was “on the wrong side of history.” John Kerry, his secretary of state, undoubtedly with White House approval, had this to say: “It’s really 19th century behavior in the 21st century.”

Back to Asimov: The most intriguing character in the Foundation series is a gnome-like, sterile, genetic accident nicknamed the Mule, who uses psychic powers to sway minds and to conquer planet after planet. Psychohistory did not account for the Mule because it measured group behavior, not that of an individual. And its 21st century follower, Barack Obama, did not ascertain the possibility that Putin would seize the Ukraine.

Obama–and this is a significant character flaw–still believes he knows how history will unfold, and most likely his vision of the future is of a world with few international disputes–and when they arise, they’ll be calmly settled by a United Nations committee.

But thugs like Putin, whether we like it or not, make history. 

You might wonder why I haven’t filed a breathless array of CPAC 2014 stories. this is because I tend to use the trip as an info gathering project rather than a source for daily news, if I wanted to report daily news I could have done it at home watching CSPAN.

So instead you will over the next few weeks get video after video, and interview after interview supplemented by longer stories about what I saw at particular events and the significance of it.

but for now as I get ready to pack to go home here are the random thoughts that are running through my head.

The greatest pleasure of CPAC is seeing in person the blogger friends that I have made over the years.

To some degree the fun of CPAC died with Andrew Breitbart.

Speaking of Breitbart the Breitbart Uninvited Panels were held all day in the hotel I was at (although I didn’t realize what they were at the time. The Panel I saw was spectacular and should have been held at the main hall.

I both look forward to and dread a Breitbart 3 panel.

Nobody seems to realize how hard everyone from the hotel folk to the volunteers work to make it all happen.

Maybe it’s just me but I think the crowds simply were not as pumped as they have been in the past.

Any other year the speech by Mitch McConnell would have been more than adequate this year it was not.

The best news for the establishment GOP at CPAC was the Rand Paul straw poll win

The 2nd Best is that the MSM will concentrate on the rhymes Sarah Palin used rather that the substance of her speech.

I suspected that Palin was not running in 2016, I’m sure of it now.

The best way to fully understand the bubble the MSM lives in is to sit quietly in the media room and just listen.

It still remains impossible to see all that one should see at CPAC.

Next year, if I can afford to come I plan on packing beef jerkey & tuna

I’m still upset about that $8 plug that I lost in the media room.

Attention young ladies, if you are wearing a skirt so high that it would be a hat if it was any higher at a conference like this you’re doing it wrong unless your ambition in life is the title “Trophy Wife”

Why any person in media would go to a party full of people with smart phones and internet access and drink to excess is beyond me.

People who claim Christianity at CPAC and expect Christians to be silent about their faith are doing it wrong.

If one wants to understand how to build a movement study the Ron/Rand Paul model at CPAC

The best way to explain the need for a strong and active America in the world is the old Fram Oil filter ad from the 70’s.

In my opinion Rand Paul doesn’t have the strength to guarantee himself the GOP nomination, but he does have the strength to deny a nominee victory.

That Pam Geller and Robert Spencer were not at CPAC was a triumph for the forces of darkness.

But Allen West’s presentation was a point of light.

I sure hope next years isn’t the day after Ash Wednesday

Want to become the most popular person amoung the possible GOP field for 2016? Anounce you are not running and watch the rest come to kiss your hand.

If Marilinda Garcia was a liberal Democrat a week would not go by when she was not on a MSM show, because she is not you are asking: “Who is Marilinda Garcia”.

The Friday lenten compliant breakfast at the Allen West event was the best meal I had at CPAC, short of the can of tuna I brought.

CPAC is nice but it’s a lot of work and I miss home.

I’ve never been given a fedora at CPAC before

I don’t know what happened to Dominic Nanni but I was disappointed that he wasn’t there today

You have no idea how much I want to just crash and not pack.

It just hit me that my bag barely made the 50lb limit on the way down, that means the CPAC swag can’t come with me.

The year my wife chooses to come with me to CPAC will be the year I lose the “Hardest working blogger” title.

It’s been suggested that I do a radio show with Stacy McCain, if someone finds us a $150 a week sponsor I’ll ask him.

There are people I met at CPAC this year that affected me personally more than any other year, you know who you are and I’m proud to know you.

If you want to really get a feel of what the grass roots at CPAC feel, go to an event that a candidate has no reason to pack.

I find myself worrying about a few people who have really aged over the last year.

Carl Cameron always says the nicest things to me.

It didn’t hit me until now how weird it must have looked to people in the audience when I RAN to get into the front media area for part of the women’s round table. I’m way too old & fat to be doing that.

It speaks very well of Congressman Steve Stockman that they were so nice to me at CPAC even though I was a Dwayne Stovall man in the primaries

Paul Ryan was the only “establishment” candidate who address the “rino/elephant” in the room. I think he did a good job of it.

If a person is not able to defend social conservatism better than me, he should not be on a panel doing so

A lot of people complemented my season 12 Dr. Who scarf but only a charming young lady from Misfit Politics recognized the season 18 one as Dr. Who.

Finally if you don’t leave CPAC with more friends than when you came you’re doing it wrong.

*********************************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s a new week and March has not started off auspiciously we are already $200 in the hole after one week.

However there is always tomorrow (which is when this post is being written and if 15 of you decide to kick in that $25 we can begin the week with the coffers full and not a care in the world.

Even better we need 61 Subscribers at $20 monthly and this entire process can become a thing of the past.