LindaTo: The Folks at the Fordham Institute

From: Linda Szugyi

Re: Your Common Core Movie Fact Sheet

Fordham Fact Sheet

Fordham’s Fact Sheet lists thirteen ‘facts’ to counter thirteen ‘false assertions’ in the HSLDA movie about Common Core, Building the Machine.  Here are the first two.  I will continue with the rest in later posts.  My comments are italicized.

1. ASSERTION: THE COMMON CORE WILL NOT BENEFIT CHILDREN.  FACT: NO LONGER WILL A ZIPCODE BE THE LEADING INDICATOR OF WHAT ACADEMIC GOALS A CHILD IS EXPECTED TO REACH.

Since the goal of advancing educational excellence is embedded on Fordham’s logo, the author of this fact sheet probably knows that neither the assertion nor your refutation are statements of fact.  They are both opinion.  I may not be on the staff of an education policy think tank, but I’ve seen the “fact v. opinion” lesson over and over.  My older son’s curricula emphasized it every year, beginning in 1st grade.  The skill of distinguishing between fact and opinion is a favored educational subject these days, and it is fully incorporated in the Common Core Standards.

Perhaps next time, Fordham’s fact checker will follow the example of Mr. Farris, a man who knows the difference between conflicting evidence and differing opinions:  “I think that on balance [David Coleman‘s] proposals are not for the good of the public schools . . . he wants to try to improve the public school system.  He genuinely believes that systemization, centralization, and data collection are good things for kids.” (Building the Machine, 32:00-32:40)

2.  “ASSERTION: THE STANDARDS ARE TOO LOW OR, ALTERNATIVELY, TOO HIGH.  FACT: THE STANDARDS PROVIDE ACADEMIC BENCHMARKS BY GRADE. IF THE BENCHMARKS ARE ACHIEVED, A STUDENT WILL BE READY FOR COLLEGE OR CAREER. THE BENCHMARKS ARE A FLOOR, NOT A CEILING.”

It’s a floor, not a ceiling, so of course a student can learn more than the standards require.  Except, wait a minute.  Common Core is advertised as rigorous, “informed by the highest standards,” and “informed by the top performing countries.”

So which is it?  Are they the minimum required, or are they “new demands” and “high expectations?”  Logic dictates that they cannot be both a floor and a ceiling at the same time.  By the way, the skill of exercising logic is also fully incorporated in the Common Core Standards.

The folks at Fordham want us to believe that the Common Core standards are like Mamma Bear’s porridge: “just right!”  Um, guys.  You are trying to impose a single set of standards on every public school kid in America.  There are a lot of public school kids in America.  They have very diverse life experiences and goals.  How in the world are those standards going to be “just right” for every single one of them?

Bonus:  here is one of the authors of Common Core, explaining how the standards are too low for students who plan to either enter a STEM field of study or apply for a prestigious, competitive university:

The Fordham Fact Sheet carries on at length about students performing poorly in math, but how exactly does the existence of this problem prove Common Core is the solution?  It does not follow.  Here’s some remedial work for Common Core proponents:  a CC-aligned lesson on logical fallacies.

Here’s the third assertion/fact to chew on:

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.

I’ll pick up with this one next week.  Hint:  I think I see some false premises in there . . .

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Olimometer 2.52

The time has come to ditch the weekly goal to focus on the monthly figure, that’s where the real action is at.

In order for this to be a viable full-time business this blog has to take in enough to make the mortgage/tax payment for the house (Currently $1210 monthly) and cover the costs of the writers writing here (another $255)

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – The state of education in the United States today is troublesome.  One report after another comes across the wires:  stressed out teachers are disengaged with their work, teachers are overworked and burned out, and apparently we have ineffective teachers in our low-performing schools.  Go figure.

Is any of this news to anyone?

Sometimes we can read all this data and all these reports and draw false conclusions.  Let’s consider some alternative conclusions to the ones most commonly drawn.

Consider the report that stressed out teachers are disengaged with their work.  This is a conclusion drawn from a new Gallup report, The State of America’s Schools which contends that  7 in 10 teachers are “do not feel engaged” in their work which is having a negative effect on students.  Certainly if a teacher is stressed out and under pressure this will have a negative impact on the teacher over time.  We all want our kids to have teachers who are exciting and make them feel the hunger for learning, so this report is obviously troublesome.

But why are teachers disengaged?  Gallup:

On two points, teachers were the least likely of any profession surveyed on workforce engagement to respond positively: whether they feel their opinions at work count, and whether their supervisor creates an “open and trusting environment.”

“That’s a really big eye-opener,” says Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education. “So there’s something about the open, trusting environment that isn’t working in schools and that they don’t believe their opinions count. That is definitely weighing down the potential of making them more engaged in their workplace.”

Well, that’s an interesting conclusion but I don’t think it’s fair to put so much blame on the supervisor or administrator.  True, that’s an important role:  you need a supportive administrator who will back your decisions in the classroom, but the administrator is also just a gateway in a sense.  Walk it all the way back.  Principal, supervisor, local superintendent, state level superintendents, and now (thank you Common Core…) the federal government.  So, to put all the blame on the immediate supervisor is misguided.

A simplified example:  A teacher wants to teach a novel that has relevance to her students; it meets and challenges their reading level. (The teacher knows this reading level because she has done a diagnostic test and has determined the reading level of each student).  The teacher knows this novel will engage her students and has a passion for bringing that novel and level of engagement to her students.

But wait!  She can’t teach that novel.  Common Core says all her students must read an obscure work with a Lexile level much higher than her students are functioning on, a novel for which the teacher has no engagement or passion.

How well is that going to work?  The teacher isn’t going to be excited about the lesson, the students are going to be struggling to relate to the work, and the students are going to struggle to even make sense of the words because said novel is so far above their reading level.

Now granted, that’s a simplified example; a really good teacher will figure out a way to bring passion to whatever novel the idgits that made the reading list make her teach.  But it wears you down.  The teacher has been stripped of her professional ability and decision making.  The teacher no longer can decide what’s best for her individual students.

Thus, burnout.  Frustration.

Is this all Common Core’s fault?  Of course not.  Teachers have been fighting bureaucracy and burnout for years.  The suits sit around conference tables and figure out what new save-the-state-of-education fad will be imposed this year and then they do endless professional development sessions to implement the plan.  Veteran teachers have seen them all before; they come in cycles.

With regard to burnout and frustration, consider that one of the requirements of Common Core is that states must also implement a rigorous teacher evaluation system.  Professional evaluation is important and I don’t know of a single profession that doesn’t have an evaluation system, but common sense must prevail.  Some of these evaluation tools are profoundly subjective and unfair.  When a teacher is marked off on an evaluation because a student put a dab of lotion on her knees during the observation, which obviously means classroom expectations haven’t been taught and the teacher has poor classroom management, frustration will result.

When those observations and evaluations are tied to teacher pay and that annual incentive check comes out, the teacher that has Honors and AP kids will get the big incentive check while the teacher with the low-performing, struggling kids who have not been taught social skills at home gets the very small check.  Frustration results.

In reality, teachers aren’t frustrated with their work or with their job.  They are frustrated with the system that prevents them from doing their job and that persecutes them for things beyond their control.  I don’t know one single teacher who went into the profession to get rich.  Every teacher I know does it because of a love for kids and for the opportunity to make a difference in just one kid’s life.  When that passion is squelched by a system that ties their hands, strips their decision making, persecutes them, and makes them feel like failures, then there is something wrong with the system, not the teachers.

Consider these words from a frustrated first-year teacher:

The truth is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that is required of me. There is always something, whether it’s a training requirement or writing tests or preparing my lessons or grading papers or counseling struggling students. Some things get finished. Most things do not.

My working life is an uneasy calculation between the most pressing need and the requirements that I hope can remain unfinished. Sometimes I feel like I am always on the verge of failure, one tiny slip or miscalculation away from either being fired or failing my students.

She resigned shortly after her letter was published.

The sad thing is, her situation is all too common.

We need to support our young teachers, trust our veteran teachers, and restore local autonomy to our school systems and classrooms.  If we fail to do this, public education will be an antiquated idea from a society that has failed its most vulnerable members: the children.

 

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

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Olimometer 2.52

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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.

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Olimometer 2.52

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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.


 

By A.P. Dillon

How many of you missed the news blip Ben Jealous left the NAACP to go be a Venture Capitalist?

He declined to specify his new salary but said it was about the same as it was at the NAACP — $285,000 in 2011, according to tax forms.

When he announced his departure from the organization in September 2013, Jealous said he planned to pursue university teaching and spend time with his young family. But Jealous says the opportunity to work with Kapor Capital was just too tempting, putting him on the cutting edge of helping people who are slipping further behind as the national economy grows. – CNS

Well, of course there’s the money. The article also says he’ll be commuting once a month from coast to coast. That’s pricey.

This isn’t just any venture capital firm. This one is about social justice and is called The Kapor Center For Social Impact (KCSI) which is, in part, funded by Kapor Capital. Kapor Capital was founded by Mitchell Kapor, who some might recognize at the founder of Lotus 1-2-3 and whose home was the subject of a lawsuit. Kapor’s wife, Freada, is involved with KCSI but also with “Level Playing Field Institute” (LPFI) which recently had Van Jones at one of their events.

KCSI and LFPI, from it’s ‘About Pages’ section seems to be very focused on STEM issue. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and, for many kids focusing on those areas, is a ticket to a university. That was until Common Core came along and set kids back in math — a reality that supporters won’t even acknowledge. In fact, Bill Gates is now so panicked over the opposition, he’s dragging teachers in as human shields. Flashback:

“It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.” – Bill Gates, September 21, 2013

Gates has Paul Krugman Syndrome. You know, that affliction where because you are successful at one thing, you must therefore be an expert on all other topics? Meanwhile, Microsoft has battled with more bugs in their never-ending series of Windows revamps than people can count and Gates never finished college…but he’s is an expert on how kids learn, or something.

Common Core & STEM

So where KSCI and LFPI stand on Common Core? That’s kind of a mystery given what I found — or rather didn’t find — on their websites. When searching KSCI’s site for “Common Core” it looks like this group is not missing the dollars signs. A jobs posting blog entry is what I found:

Curriculet (www.curriculet.com) is looking for smart, savvy educators, English teachers in particular, to write curriculum for a long list of K-12 books using our digital reading platform. See the job description here.

Curriculets are layers of interactive curriculum consisting of Common Core aligned questions and quizzes, plus videos, images and text annotations. We pay as much as $500 per book… average length titles earn $250.

When I searched the LPFI site for “Common Core” only one hit came back and it became clear that LPFI is very highly connected.

Just a few reminders on STEM and Common Core from those actually involved in it:

By 8th grade, Common Core State Standar5ds will put our students about two years behind those of the highest-achieving countries.” – Dr. James Milgram, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Stanford University & former Common Core Validation Committee member

“If you want to take calculus your freshman year in college, you will need to take more mathematics than is in the Common Core.” – Jason Zimba, Common Core Standards Mathematics Writer

Just so we’re clear, here’s Caleb Bonham demonstrating how Common Core math is overly complex. Common Core Math is really the old failed “new math” just recycled because… this time it will work or something.

Paging Bill Gates! Those of us opposing Common Core aren’t trying to ‘send out kids back to what we had before‘, we want high standards but APPROPRIATE ones, PROVEN ones. Our kids are not code for you to play with. We’re not trying to send out kids backwards, but it would seem YOU are.

 

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

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Olimometer 2.52

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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 A.P. Dillon

Have you heard of the Greek myth of Procrustes? As the myth goes, Procrustes was a bandit and a metal smith from Attica and was also the son of Poseidon. His claim to fame was that he would attack people and force them to fit an iron bed. Procrustes would do so by either stretching their bodies out or cutting off limbs to make the person fit.

Procrustes is alive and well in the United States of America.

The Procrustean bed is described as the exact conformity being forced on a person or persons to an arbitrary standard. A shorter definition: One size fits all.

These beds are made for us for our own good, of course, because government and the ‘elite’ know what is best for us.

Consider Obamacare. Being forced to buy a predetermined product by one’s government regardless of your individual preferences or needs.  As a Procrustean bed, Obamacare is a resounding failure. It’s been stretched and it has had multiple limbs chopped off, yet it still does not fit.

Then there’s zero tolerance in our schools. Enforcing rules and punishments on children with the absence of common sense and with no consideration for context.  All shall be judged according to the same stick. Who decided on the size and shape of that stick? Not parents, teachers or taxpayers and certainly not the children.

The ultimate Procrustean bed right now would have to be Common Core.  Common Core proposes to make all children fit their sized bed.  Like Procrustes, the Common Core is attacking our kids.  In their formative years, they are being stretched beyond what they can handle physically and mentally. In the latter years, they are having those stretched limbs chopped off.

The message of all of these Procrustean beds is really rather clear: To Hell with individuality. Conform.

My response is: The Hell I will.

If you enjoyed this article, you should really check out other pieces written by Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven writers and maybe hit that tip jar!

A.P. Dillon (Lady Liberty 1885), is a Conservative minded wife and mother living in the Triangle area of North Carolina. A.P. Dillon founded the blog LadyLiberty1885.com in 2009. After the 2012 election, she added an Instapundit style blog called The ConMom Blog. Mrs. Dillon’s writing, in addition to Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent 7, can also be found at StopCommonCoreNC.org, WatchdogWireNC and WizBang. Non-political writing projects include science fiction novellas that are, as of yet, unpublished. Her current writing project is a children’s book series.

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 lyingGeorge 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.

academia here I come

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.

You know my Magnificent Seven have been writing here since November but we have not featured one as a primary guest until now.

Today AP Dillon Lady Liberty 1885 of my Magnificent seven joins me to talk about Common Core and maybe some NC politics.

In the Second Hour, it’s Da Magnificent Panel, Maxine Baptiste will join AP, Joe and I (and maybe a friend or two) to deal with the issues of the week.

It all starts at Noon EST on DaTechGuy on DaRadio but that’s not all

Because it’s our anniversary we’ll be giving away some Big Finish Doctor Who CD’s just call in and win.

You can reach us at 888-9-fedora to opine on the air and as always you have multiple options to hear the show via our online streams click the links to listen.

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Join us, you’ll learn something and we’ll have fun.

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Olimometer 2.52

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Last week was made more exciting by another grenade lobbed in Da Mommy Wars:  I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.  For some righteous indignation as a response, click here.  For mockery, click here.  The article itself was so over the top it fairly screamed click-bait.

The author has already written a follow-up post, “In Defense of Trolling.”  In it, she explains that trolling is good because Socrates, Jesus, and Martin Luther did it.   And that trolling “combines the act of having an unpopular opinion with the skill of incentivizing people to engage with it.”  It encourages dialogue.

Encouragement of advertising revenue through increased page views is surely an incidental by-product.  It’s all about the dialogue.

We are living in an unserious culture.

Really, I don’t much mind the fact that some people say ridiculous and/or inflammatory things in order to get attention and/or make a living.  The problem is, this appears to be a perfect example of the kind of young adult our progressive education system actually creates.

I am almost done reading The Story-Killers:  A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core.  Common Core itself may not have been stamped on her books at school, but nevermind.  Common Core doesn’t invent bad teaching; it just standardizes it.

Things were bad enough in aught-diggity-six, when I was in school. If you are older but not yet old, you might remember the drill:  teachers made students read excerpts of various literature, often aloud, in turns.  Sure, most people droned on terribly.  Sure, we had to find the plot and the climax and the foreshadowing and the, oh, I don’t know, characterization and main idea, or some such.

Sure, there was the instruction to compare the story to modern life or whatever.  It always seemed contrived and just lame.  There was always one question in every exercise that was so stupid it made me angry to even have to read it, let alone answer it.

Things are worse now.

Terrence O. Moore analyzed a Common Core-aligned, high school literature textbook.  It has seventeen pages devoted to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and not a single bit of the actual novel is included in those seventeen pages.

They do get to read, and possibly act out, a Saturday Night Live parody of Frankenstein.  And they get to complete a brainstorming activity about modern urban myths.  Does that count as literary analysis?  I’ll let Mr. Moore explain, as he does a better job than I can:

“My wife, the former English teacher who recognizes pretense when she sees it, took one look at these pages and put it very simply:  ‘They (the editors) are requiring students to have opinions on something they know nothing about.’  Who needs to read and learn from Frankenstein, or any other book for that matter, when a person can just spout off in pseudo-intellectual jargon–and never be called to account because no one else has read the book?  The production of such opinions in uninformed young people leads to hubris and intellectual dishonesty.”  The Story-Killers, page 177 (bolding mine).

I’m all about intellectual honesty.  I haven’t read much of anything about Socrates.  But I’m pretty sure the use of his work to rationalize provocation for provocation’s sake is pseudo-intellectual jargon.  And when someone is not a young wife and mother herself, she might be rather uninformed in her opinion about it.

Hubris?  That seems to be a defining quality.  How about intellectual dishonesty?  Take this passage for example:

“Having an opinion doesn’t mean you think it is right or that you are smarter than other people, it is a vehicle towards truth that only works when you engage with others.”

Um.  How honest is it, really, to claim that you are engaging with people when you “looked down” on them in the very title of that supposed engagement?  Or dialogue.  Or whatever.

Welcome to the culmination of progressive education, folks.  You’ve just met one of its products.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Monday and this week’s paycheck sits at $12.

This doesn’t bode well for my plans to add more writers in the long term but in the short term it certainly doesn’t do any good for paying the mortgage.

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by baldilocks

Over at Ace of Spades HQ, my friend Monty expounds on a concept which I coined a number of years ago at my old blog and mentioned in an earlier Da Tech Guy post: The Coconut Treatment.

There is a price to be paid for divorcing actions and concepts from the words that describe them. Government, and the law that undergirds it, is made up of words. Devalue the words, strip them of meaning, and you do the same thing to the concepts those words describe. Action follows Thought, and for Thought to exist there must be the Word.

The sundering of meaning from the words to which they are assigned is merely a foundation for the hollowing out of the Old Order of things great and small. It is a demonic seed which mirrors the mustard seed concept of the Kingdom of Heaven as illustrated by Jesus the Christ.

Where God is the author of Order, he who wishes to be His counterpart sows the Tree of Chaos. Meet the New Boss.

tree

Seeds require nourishment in order to flourish. And just as the seed of Faith will flourish with the items recommended—prayer, reading God’s Word, fasting, giving, and obedience to God—so it is with the seed of Lies.

In his short, excellent post, Monty references Orwell’s Newspeak coinage, but the concept is much older

than 1984it’s one which started very simply in the Garden when the Enemy planted doubt about the truth of God’s Word. Since then, the war has been ongoing and the enemy has always been able to find foot-soldiers–individuals, groups and nations—who will water his tree of Lies.

That tree has a fancy and useful name now—postmodernism–but it is merely the tool used to deceive mankind and, ultimately, to separate as many of us as possible from our Creator.

Primary Example: Love

God defines three types of love–agape, phileo and eros—and these definitions have a special order in that the third is meaningless without the first two.

The new Love has a two-pronged definition: 1) giving a person whatever he/she wants, and 2) approving anything another wants to do. Its basis leads back to the disobedience in the Garden.

And from the seed planted by the new definition of love we get the conceptual fruit: new definitions for rights, racism, oppression…the list is endless.

The fruit and the branches are manifold. From the new “love” seed we get conceptual trees such as communism/progressivism/Marxism/socialism, “settled” science, and the Common Core(d) method of education—concepts with evil foundations and self-contradictory foundations or those in which foundations are unnecessary.

What to do? I’ve mentioned the solution in almost every one of my posts here at Da Tech Guy blog. But the first thing to do is recognize the faulty seeds which have been planted in oneself and to root them out.  The usual evil seed which needs weeding is that same one which got the Enemy thrown out of Heaven: pride.

According to God, pride is always a sin. This includes pride of race, pride of ethnicity, pride of gender, pride of accomplishment, pride of relation, pride of nationality (yes)—many types of pride which we erroneously view as harmless or even good. That view is a seed for the larger tree: the “bad” types of pride; they all supersede the hand of the Dispenser of all good things. (To turn another concept on its head, you didn’t build that. God did.)

So, I suggest that we each start with letting God remove the weeds from our individual souls—rebuilding the foundation of Truth in our individual thinking. In turn follows the larger removal of weeds from our families, and, after that, from our nation.

The weeding and watering have to start somewhere.

UPDATE: Photo added.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!