Logical Thinking About Common Core, Part 2

by Linda Szugyi | April 21st, 2014

Readability

Logical Thinking About Common Core, Part 2

Lindaby Linda Szu­gyi

Where was I? Oh yes, The Ford­ham Institute’s Com­mon Core Movie Fact Sheet, and its thir­teen rebut­tals to points made in the anti-​Common Core movie, Build­ing the Machine.

I cov­ered the first two points last week. On to Ford­ham Institute’s point and rebut­tal num­ber three:

3. “ASSER­TION: ‘THE COM­MON CORE DIS­IN­CEN­TIVIZES PAR­ENT INVOLVE­MENT. IT STOPS PAR­ENTS FROM A DEEP AND ABID­ING INTER­EST IN THEIR CHILD’S EDU­CA­TION.’ FACT: WITH STAN­DARDS, PAR­ENTS CAN CLEARLY ASSESS IF THEIR CHILD IS BEING CHAL­LENGED TO GAIN THE SKILLS AND KNOWL­EDGE NEEDED TO SUC­CEED IN COL­LEGE OR CAREER.”

The prob­lem here is the assump­tion that all stan­dards are help­ful. Of course, gen­er­ally speak­ing, peo­ple can bet­ter track their progress in any­thing – edu­ca­tion, build­ing a house, or cook­ing a stew, as exam­ples – if they have some instruc­tions to fol­low and some check­points to compare.

But come on. Which is going to be the eas­ier stew recipe to fol­low? The plain-​written one, or the one that car­ries on ad nau­seam about the level of sea­son­ing com­plex­ity, the inte­gra­tion of tubers and night­shades, and the impor­tance of hav­ing diverse ingredients?

In order for stan­dards to be help­ful to par­ents, they first have to be read­able. Yet, the Com­mon Core Stan­dards are phrased in as ver­bose and con­vo­luted a man­ner as pos­si­ble. Have a look at them, if you haven’t yet. Even sim­ple things like lis­ten­ing and hold­ing a con­ver­sa­tion are expressed in com­plex, high-​sounding terminology.

Phony clap­trap may intim­i­date some par­ents, but it shouldn’t. It should be derided as just another from of legalese. We can call it “expertese.” As a cul­ture, we’ve been ced­ing author­ity to the self-​appointed experts of child-​rearing and edu­ca­tion for far too long. Our experts have turned into naked emperors.

The unnamed author of the Fact Sheet fee­bly attempts to sup­port the dubi­ous FACT #3 (par­ents can clearly assess their chil­dren with Com­mon Core Stan­dards), by remind­ing us that states had their own stan­dards before Com­mon Core, and par­ents didn’t com­plain about them.

parts is parts Wendy's adWhat’s the big deal? Stan­dards are stan­dards,” seems to be the implicit argu­ment. I’m reminded of that old Wendy’s ad about the com­peti­tors’ chicken sand­wich: Parts is parts!

In this one regard, the Fact Sheet is cor­rect. We should have been com­plain­ing about our ridicu­lously unhelp­ful state stan­dards. It took the foist­ing of a national set of unhelp­ful stan­dards for us to sit up and take notice. As I’ve said before, Com­mon Core doesn’t invent the lousy edu­ca­tion, it just nation­ally stan­dard­izes it.

The most inter­est­ing part of the Fact Sheet’s argu­ment in #3 is an off-​hand use of the word “knowledge”:

The exis­tence of stan­dards enables par­ents to clearly track if their child is gain­ing the nec­es­sary knowl­edge and skills to be ready for col­lege or career.”

Gain­ing the nec­es­sary knowl­edge? I have noticed that the Com­mon Core Stan­dards don’t cover knowl­edge; they only cover skills. Therein lies the basis for the oft-​repeated claim that Com­mon Core does not influ­ence the cur­ric­ula, i.e., the sub­stance of the infor­ma­tion taught in the class­room. Therein also lies their point­less nature, for the skills they pur­port to assess are skills that humans tend to nat­u­rally acquire in the process of attain­ing knowledge.

Whether the knowl­edge is gained from expe­ri­ence or books, the skill to apply that knowl­edge is an innate part of the human expe­ri­ence. The ques­tion then becomes, what bod­ies of knowl­edge will best hone the nat­ural human ten­dency to apply knowl­edge by cre­at­ing, by mak­ing deci­sions, and by com­mu­ni­cat­ing with others?

To answer this ques­tion, Com­mon Core has sug­gested texts in Appen­dix B. Ana­lyza­tion of these sug­ges­tions is best left for another time, and in fact has already been done by Ter­rence O. Moore. You really should buy his book. It’s called “The Story-​Killers” for a rea­son. Suf­fice it to say that the folks who pub­lish “Com­mon Core-​aligned” text­books think it’s more impor­tant for high school­ers to read a Sat­ur­day Night Live par­ody of Franken­stein than it is to actu­ally, you know, read the clas­sic novel itself.

Wow. Class is over already, and I cov­ered only #3 of the thir­teen “asser­tions and facts” in the Ford­ham Institute’s “Fact Sheet.” I’ll have to pick up with #4 next week. Just remem­ber, learn­ing is an innate part of being human, but the tra­di­tional school expe­ri­ence has a ten­dency to crush it.

Here’s my bio. I am an over-​educated, stay-​at-​home-​mom who is only just now learn­ing how to be a life-​long learner. I’m fin­ish­ing up my sec­ond year of exper­i­ment­ing upon home­school­ing my two boys, who are cur­rently 6th and 3rd graders, and I’m well fed-​up with experts who have no com­mon sense. If you enjoy Da Tech Guy’s blog but have not yet sub­scribed, please do so. That is all.

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Lindaby Linda Szugyi

Where was I? Oh yes, The Fordham Institute’s Common Core Movie Fact Sheet, and its thirteen rebuttals to points made in the anti-Common Core movie, Building the Machine.

I covered the first two points last week.  On to Fordham Institute’s point and rebuttal number three:

3.  “ASSERTION: ‘THE COMMON CORE DISINCENTIVIZES PARENT INVOLVEMENT. IT STOPS PARENTS FROM A DEEP AND ABIDING INTEREST IN THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATION.’  FACT: WITH STANDARDS, PARENTS CAN CLEARLY ASSESS IF THEIR CHILD IS BEING CHALLENGED TO GAIN THE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE NEEDED TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE OR CAREER.”

The problem here is the assumption that all standards are helpful.  Of course, generally speaking, people can better track their progress in anything–education, building a house, or cooking a stew, as examples–if they have some instructions to follow and some checkpoints to compare.

But come on.  Which is going to be the easier stew recipe to follow?  The plain-written one, or the one that carries on ad nauseam about the level of seasoning complexity, the integration of tubers and nightshades, and the importance of having diverse ingredients?

In order for standards to be helpful to parents, they first have to be readable.  Yet, the Common Core Standards are phrased in as verbose and convoluted a manner as possible.  Have a look at them, if you haven’t yet.  Even simple things like listening and holding a conversation are expressed in complex, high-sounding terminology.

Phony claptrap may intimidate some parents, but it shouldn’t.  It should be derided as just another from of legalese.  We can call it “expertese.”  As a culture, we’ve been ceding authority to the self-appointed experts of child-rearing and education for far too long.  Our experts have turned into naked emperors.

The unnamed author of the Fact Sheet feebly attempts to support the dubious FACT #3 (parents can clearly assess their children with Common Core Standards), by reminding us that states had their own standards before Common Core, and parents didn’t complain about them.

parts is parts Wendy's ad“What’s the big deal?  Standards are standards,” seems to be the implicit argument.  I’m reminded of that old Wendy’s ad about the competitors’ chicken sandwich:  Parts is parts!

In this one regard, the Fact Sheet is correct.  We should have been complaining about our ridiculously unhelpful state standards.  It took the foisting of a national set of unhelpful standards for us to sit up and take notice.  As I’ve said before, Common Core doesn’t invent the lousy education, it just nationally standardizes it.

The most interesting part of the Fact Sheet’s argument in #3 is an off-hand use of the word “knowledge”:

“The existence of standards enables parents to clearly track if their child is gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to be ready for college or career.”

Gaining the necessary knowledge?  I have noticed that the Common Core Standards don’t cover knowledge; they only cover skills.  Therein lies the basis for the oft-repeated claim that Common Core does not influence the curricula, i.e., the substance of the information taught in the classroom.  Therein also lies their pointless nature, for the skills they purport to assess are skills that humans tend to naturally acquire in the process of attaining knowledge.

Whether the knowledge is gained from experience or books, the skill to apply that knowledge is an innate part of the human experience.  The question then becomes, what bodies of knowledge will best hone the natural human tendency to apply knowledge by creating, by making decisions, and by communicating with others?

To answer this question, Common Core has suggested texts in Appendix B.  Analyzation of these suggestions is best left for another time, and in fact has already been done by Terrence O. Moore.  You really should buy his book.  It’s called “The Story-Killers” for a reason.  Suffice it to say that the folks who publish “Common Core-aligned” textbooks think it’s more important for high schoolers to read a Saturday Night Live parody of Frankenstein than it is to actually, you know, read the classic novel itself.

Wow.  Class is over already, and I covered only #3 of the thirteen “assertions and facts” in the Fordham Institute’s “Fact Sheet.”  I’ll have to pick up with #4 next week.  Just remember, learning is an innate part of being human, but the traditional school experience has a tendency to crush it.

Here’s my bio.  I am an over-educated, stay-at-home-mom who is only just now learning how to be a life-long learner.  I’m finishing up my second year of  experimenting upon homeschooling my two boys, who are currently 6th and 3rd graders, and I’m well fed-up with experts who have no common sense.  If you enjoy Da Tech Guy’s blog but have not yet subscribed, please do so.  That is all.

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This blog exists as a full time endeavor thanks to your support.

The reporting, the commentary and the nine magnificent seven writers are all made possible because you, the reader choose to support it.

For a full month of all of what we provide ,we ask a fixed amount $1465, under $50 a day.

This month we are behind, but we can make our goal if we can get $119 from this day till the end of the month. That’s 5 $25 Tip jar hits.

Jesus said  laborer deserves his payment.  (Lk 10:7) If you think the work we do here for the conservative movement is worth it, please consider hitting DaTipJar below .

Naturally once our monthly goal is made these solicitations will disappear till the next month but once we get 61 more subscribers  at $20 a month the goal will be covered for a full year and this pitch will disappear until 2015.

Consider the lineup you get for this price, in addition to my own work seven days a week you get 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 Dillon (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.

If that’s not worth $20 a month I’d like to know what is?

 

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