Critical Thinking About Common Core

by Linda Szugyi | April 7th, 2014

Readability

Critical Thinking About Common Core

Lindaby Linda Szugyi

Today, I watched Build­ing The Machine, the Home­school Legal Defense Association’s doc­u­men­tary about Com­mon Core. Then I spent most of the rest of today research­ing the lat­est on Com­mon Core.

Frankly, I’ve spent more hours than I care to count research­ing Com­mon Core. Then research­ing a lit­tle more. Then writ­ing about it. Then writ­ing about it again. And then, for vari­ety, writ­ing about it some more.

I ran into a name that’s new to me: Pro­fes­sor Will­ing­ham, Ph.D. While not a Com­mon Core fan, he warns against vit­riol in the debate:

Of all the blog­gers, pun­dits, reporters, researchers, etc. I know, I can think of two who I would say are mean-​spirited – both of them unre­lent­ingly vit­ri­olic, I’m guess­ing in some wretched effort to resolve per­sonal disappointments.

Of the remain­ing hun­dreds, all give every evi­dence of sin­cer­ity and of gen­uine pas­sion for education.

So this is a call for fewer blog post­ings that, implic­itly or explic­itly, den­i­grate the other person’s motives, or that offer a know­ing nod with the claim “we all know what those peo­ple think.”

I have a dif­fer­ent take on that, though. There are times to take your oppo­nents seri­ously, and there are times when their claims war­rant mock­ery. It is ridicu­lous to claim that col­lege and career readi­ness are one and the same. Your claims have no weight when they involve foil-​hat insults. It is fool­ish to force an untested scheme on school chil­dren nation­wide, and sim­ply hope for the best. It is ridicu­lous to largely refuse to take part in a doc­u­men­tary, and then attempt to claim that said doc­u­men­tary is spu­ri­ous.

I highly rec­om­mend read­ing Pro­fes­sor Willingham’s arti­cle about one of the key con­cepts of Com­mon Core: crit­i­cal think­ing. In it, he explains why ‘crit­i­cal think­ing’ is not sim­ply another teach­able skill, and why the act of crit­i­cal think­ing is depen­dent on sub­ject mat­ter knowl­edge. In another worth­while read, he explains that read­ing strate­gies (once the bane of my son’s exis­tence) can do more harm than good.

A cou­ple of years ago a pub­lic school teacher told me that all chil­dren need to use read­ing strate­gies, or else they won’t under­stand what they are read­ing. This teacher was older than me, and “read­ing strate­gies” weren’t a thing when we were in school. Yet, some­how we learned how to under­stand what we read. A fact like this should speak for itself.

But a lack of com­mon sense today is pre­vent­ing folks from see­ing the obvi­ous. So they give weight and cre­dence to ideas that don’t with­stand scrutiny. With the appli­ca­tion of a lit­tle com­mon sense (and dare I say, crit­i­cal think­ing) the experts would real­ize an issue as com­plex as edu­ca­tion can­not be ironed out by a sin­gle set of standards:

Obvi­ously school­ing is com­plex, with a num­ber of inter­act­ing fac­tors that con­tribute to stu­dent out­comes.… [A] prob­lem in one part of the sys­tem might mask pos­i­tive change in another part of the sys­tem, just as repairs to the elec­tri­cal sys­tem of a car might appear to have no effect if the fuel sys­tem also needs repair.

There seems to be no recog­ni­tion of this pos­si­bil­ity in edu­ca­tion pol­icy, which is eval­u­ated on a system-​wide basis. No Child Left Behind was a com­plex law with ram­i­fi­ca­tions at every level of the edu­ca­tional sys­tem. Yet the autopsy is sel­dom more nuanced than ‘it didn’t work.’”

Dr. Willingham’s words remind me of Hayek’s warn­ings against cen­tral­ized plan­ners act­ing on the pre­tense of knowl­edge.

The U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce Foun­da­tion has cre­ated a pro-​Common Core video in response to the HSLDA video. Some­how, four min­utes of cheer­lead­ing is sup­posed to refute every­thing in HSLDA’s doc­u­men­tary. Don’t take my word for it. Watch both videos and decide for your­self, as a test of your crit­i­cal think­ing skills. Maybe later, I’ll gin up a stan­dard­ized test to fully eval­u­ate your col­lege and career readiness.

Time for the bio! I’m Linda. We used to pay for pri­vate school, until hor­ri­ble things like “clothes hanger book reports” and “read­ing strate­gies” drove both me and Older Son crazy. That didn’t seem like a good bar­gain. So for now I’m home­school­ing. We’ll see what edu­ca­tion choices our next PCS brings … say that reminds me. Do you know what is a good bar­gain? A Tech Guy sub­scrip­tion! The but­ton is right below these words.

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

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

[olimome­ter id=4]

It’s Mon­day and based on yesterday’s take of $2 our con­sec­u­tive streak of fail­ing to make our $365 weekly goal is in no danger.

I do promise you if you do hit DaTip­Jar and help us get to our $365 weekly goal I’ll keep fight­ing like Mrs. Palin. I’m not as valu­able to the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment as her but I’ll con­tinue to do my part.

If 61 of you hit Sub­scribe at $20 a month sub­scribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

For that you not only get my work seven days a week but con­sider the lineup you get for that price, includ­ing John Ruberry (Marathon Pun­dit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreve­port) on Sun­day Linda Szu­gyi (No one of any import) on Mon­day Tim Imholt on Tues­day, AP Dil­lion (Lady Liberty1885) Thurs­days, Pas­tor George Kelly fri­days, Steve Eggle­ston on Sat­ur­days with Baldilocks (Tue & Sat) and Fausta (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.


Lindaby Linda Szugyi

Today, I watched Building The Machine, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s documentary about Common Core.  Then I spent most of the rest of today researching the latest on Common Core.

Frankly, I’ve spent more hours than I care to count researching Common Core.  Then researching a little more.  Then writing about it.  Then writing about it again.  And then, for variety, writing about it some more.

I ran into a name that’s new to me:  Professor Willingham, Ph.D.  While not a Common Core fan, he warns against vitriol in the debate:

“Of all the bloggers, pundits, reporters, researchers, etc. I know, I can think of two who I would say are mean-spirited–both of them unrelentingly vitriolic, I’m guessing in some wretched effort to resolve personal disappointments.

Of the remaining hundreds, all give every evidence of sincerity and of genuine passion for education.

So this is a call for fewer blog postings that, implicitly or explicitly,  denigrate the other person’s motives, or that offer a knowing nod with the claim “we all know what those people think.”

I have a different take on that, though.  There are times to take your opponents seriously, and there are times when their claims warrant mockery.  It is ridiculous to claim that college and career readiness are one and the same.  Your claims have no weight when they involve foil-hat insults.  It is foolish to force an untested scheme on school children nationwide, and simply hope for the best.  It is ridiculous to largely refuse to take part in a documentary, and then attempt to claim that said documentary is spurious.

I highly recommend reading Professor Willingham’s article about one of the key concepts of Common Core:  critical thinking.  In it, he explains why ‘critical thinking’ is not simply another teachable skill, and why the act of critical thinking is dependent on subject matter knowledge.  In another worthwhile read, he explains that reading strategies (once the bane of my son’s existence) can do more harm than good.

A couple of years ago a public school teacher told me that all children need to use reading strategies, or else they won’t understand what they are reading.  This teacher was older than me, and “reading strategies” weren’t a thing when we were in school.  Yet, somehow we learned how to understand what we read.  A fact like this should speak for itself.

But a lack of common sense today is preventing folks from seeing the obvious.  So they give weight and credence to ideas that don’t withstand scrutiny.  With the application of a little common sense (and dare I say, critical thinking) the experts would realize an issue as complex as education cannot be ironed out by a single set of standards:

“Obviously schooling is complex, with a number of interacting factors that contribute to student outcomes. . . . [A] problem in one part of the system might mask positive change in another part of the system, just as repairs to the electrical system of a car might appear to have no effect if the fuel system also needs repair.

There seems to be no recognition of this possibility in education policy, which is evaluated on a system-wide basis.  No Child Left Behind was a complex law with ramifications at every level of the educational system.  Yet the autopsy is seldom more nuanced than ‘it didn’t work.'”

Dr. Willingham’s words remind me of Hayek’s warnings against centralized planners acting on the pretense of knowledge.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has created a pro-Common Core video in response to the HSLDA video.  Somehow, four minutes of cheerleading is supposed to refute everything in HSLDA’s documentary.  Don’t take my word for it.  Watch both videos and decide for yourself, as a test of your critical thinking skills.  Maybe later, I’ll gin up a standardized test to fully evaluate your college and career readiness.

Time for the bio!  I’m Linda.  We used to pay for private school, until horrible things like “clothes hanger book reports” and “reading strategies” drove both me and Older Son crazy.  That didn’t seem like a good bargain.  So for now I’m homeschooling.  We’ll see what education choices our next PCS brings . . . say that reminds me.  Do you know what is a good bargain?  A Tech Guy subscription!  The button is right below these words.

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

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

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Monday and based on yesterday’s take of $2 our consecutive streak of failing to make our $365 weekly goal is in no danger.

I do promise you if you do hit DaTipJar and help us get to our $365 weekly goal I’ll keep fighting like Mrs. Palin.  I’m not as valuable to the conservative movement as her but I’ll continue to do my part.

 

 

If 61 of you hit Subscribe at $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

For that you not only get my work seven days a week but consider the lineup you get for that price, including John Ruberry (Marathon Pundit) and Pat Austin (And so it goes in Shreveport)  on Sunday  Linda Szugyi (No one of any import) on Monday  Tim Imholt on Tuesday,  AP Dillion (Lady Liberty1885) Thursdays, Pastor George Kelly fridays,   Steve Eggleston on Saturdays with  Baldilocks (Tue & Sat)  and   Fausta  (Wed & Fri) of (Fausta Blog) twice a week.


 

Buy My Book!

Buy My Book!

Hit DaTipJar and Support Conservative Journalism & Opinion




Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,146 other subscribers

DH Gate Dot Com, Online Shopping

Cheap ecigarette from China - DHgate

Best Grassroots Blogs

Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Catholic CD of the Month

Know your Catholic Faith

Da Pages

Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Donald Trump Calls on DaTechGuy Worcester MA

 
%d bloggers like this: