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Common Core: “Effing the Ineffable”

“’One size fits all’ may be a term of mockery used by people who disdain the top-down solutions of centralized power; in the technocratic vision, ‘one size fits all’ describes the ideal.” – Andrew Ferguson

In his column “The Common Core Commotion: Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Andrew Ferguson gives both an historical and technocratic analysis of Common Core State Standards. Common Core is the end game of a process that began under President Ronald Reagan and is now in full force under President Barack Obama.

Ferguson writes, “The logic of education reform always points to more education reform. With experts having shown they didn’t really know how to improve education on a broad scale, and with state school officials having proved themselves in many cases to be cheats and bunco artists, the solution was clear to every educationist: State school officials should get together with experts to come up with a new reform. Except this time it would work.”

Ferguson describes the “world view” on education by technocrats like Bill Gates and those within government run education from the U.S. Department of Education to the local School Board. Ferguson describes Bill Gates thusly:

His faith is technocratic and materialist: In the end he believes the ability of highly credentialed observers to identify and solve problems through the social sciences is theoretically limitless. ‘Studies’ and ‘research’ unlock the human secret. This is the animating faith of most educationists, too. All human interactions can be dispassionately observed and their separate parts identified, isolated, analyzed, and quantified according to some version of the scientific method. The resulting data will yield reliable information about how and why we behave as we do, and from this process can be derived formulas that will be universally applicable and repeatable.

Ferguson concludes with, “The delays and distancing suggest a cloudy future for the Common Core. Even its advocates say that the best possible outcome for now involves a great deal more unpleasantness: The tests will be given to many students beginning next spring, and the results will demonstrate the catastrophic state of learning in American schools. Of course, we knew that, but still. ‘Maybe this will be a reality check,’ one booster told me the other day. ‘People will take a look at the results and say, ‘Aha! So this is what they’ve been talking about!’ It will send a very strong signal.’”

Ferguson notes, ” “Eff the Ineffable” is the technocrat’s motto.” Common Core is the technocrats way of Effing the Ineffable.

The following chart is courtesy of Education News and compares the traditional and Common Core education models:

Description

Type #1

Traditional

Classical Learning

Type #2

CSCOPE and

Common Core Standards

 

Progressive,

Radical Social Justice Agenda

     
Instruction Direct instruction by teacher Self-directed learning, group-think Emphasis on:Subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, evolution, sexual freedom, contraceptives, environmental extremism, global warming and climate change, victimization, diversity, acceptance of homosexuality as normal, redistribution of wealth

 

 

De-emphasis on:

Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution, national sovereignty, Founding Fathers, American exceptionalism

 

     
Curriculum Academic, fact-based, skills, research Social concerns, project-based, constructivism, subjective, uses unproven fads and theories
     
Teacher’s Role Authority figure; sets the plan for the class; academic instruction Facilitator
     
Student’s Role Learn from teacher; focus on factual learning, develop foundation skills for logical and analytical reasoning, independent thinking Students teach each other; focus on feelings, emotions, opinions; group-think
     
English, Language Arts, Reading (ELAR) Phonics; classical literature; cursive handwriting; grammar; usage; correct spelling; expository, persuasive, research writing Whole language, balanced literacy,Guided Reading; no cursive writing instruction so cannot read primary documents of Founding Fathers
     
Mathematics “Drill and Skill,” four math functions learned to automaticity Fuzzy math, rejects drill and memorization of math facts, dependent on calculators
     
Social Studies Focus on American heritage and exceptionalism, national sovereignty, Founding documents Diversity, multiculturalism, globalization, revisionist history, political correctness
     
Character Development Pro-faith, self-control, personal responsibility, self-discipline, solid work ethic Secular, moral relativism, anti-faith, victimization
     
Equality Equal opportunities Equal outcomes
     
Assessment Students evaluated by earned grades, objective tests Inflated grades, subjective assessments evaluated based upon value system of grader, group grades
     
Outcomes Objective tests (right-or-wrong answers), emphasis on academic skills and knowledge Subjective assessments; emphasis on holistic, “feel good” scoring

Original chart produced by Carole H. Haynes, Ph.D. – chaynes777@gmail.comRevised chart produced 11.04.13.