Adages, Fables and Common Core
We’re smarter than this, aren’t we? Are we not smarter than propagandistic slogans and themes like “No Child Left Behind” and “Common Core”? Well, sometimes we are and sometimes we aren’t. We are cautiously optimistic that we, as traditional Americans, are waking up and smelling the coffee in the education realm.
When No Child Left Behind was introduced a decade or so ago, it was a bipartisan thingy because the lefties realized millions and billions of public monies were to be had to funnel off into various…..endeavors (and pocketbooks) ….and the righties thought that somehow the teachers’ unions and consortiums could be brought to heel through “accountability” measures. Actually, as a layman and with no inclination to delve into the specifics of it, I could tell by it’s name that it was a communist plot. I half-heartedly tried to coin a saying in my limited sphere of influence – “If no child is left behind, then no child will get very far.” My little adage didn’t get very far.
We can’t blame honest folks for looking for solutions to problems that are presented to them. The unfortunate thing is that problems are always being “presented” to them. Like that henhouse that needs guarding. Or “Investments in education” that need to be made. When the deal came up about recruiting 100,000 new math teachers, noted math teacher G.V. Ramanathan piped up and said ‘ that’s stupid – all we need is the math teachers we already have teaching math, and whatever genius is out there able to take the math to whatever use the country needs of it, it will emerge ‘ or words to that effect. I think G. V. Ramanathan is a wise educator.
The same could be said of probably any of the other sciences. And like in any other arena, more is not always better. But more is always, ALWAYS an opportunity for power trips, graft and abuse, as in making more new laws and hiring more cops to stand ready at the donut shop. I had one teacher in my first year of school, at age six. One. And she taught me everything I needed to know at that point in my life. And there was no United States Department of Education.
At any rate, the parts of NCLB that the libs/unionistas didn’t like and the parts that the conservers didn’t like paved the way for The Next Great Thing – Common Core. The people who know about this, about it’s inadequacies and misrepresentations, the teachers and the (mostly) moms are on the case. But it struck me once again how we got here. And once again it is the Words. Joe and Mrs. Joe Parent out there thought it meant Readin’ and Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic. But when the Foxes began to be questioned about what it actually was, thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Joe being tipped off by some teachers who are in it for the teaching, and not the politics, apparently the best the Fox could come up with was “Oh, this Core is just so….Common. You’ll love it!” According to reports, it’s ‘common’ to a fault but the specifics aren’t important here.
Okay. So those of you reading this already know it’s most likely a scam and a sham and certainly it’s beginning to be outed as a boondoggle in many localities. On the other hand, there is every reason for parents, and citizens in general, to be concerned about education in this country. Crisis? Maybe, but it’s been building for a long time. Decades. And extricating ourselves from this hole without the walls caving in may be tricky. What is happening now with the realization by more and more people in the teaching profession that there is nothing “liberal” at all about the future of education any more, that the trend is toward fascist instruction according to the needs of The State instead, and with the average citizen being able to connect with these teachers through cyberspace, is that there now may be a two-front assault on state legislatures across the country to make them see the errors of their ways.
In a broader context, though, what I hope will happen is that, as a result of this current episode in education hijinks, there will be promoted a new awareness and understanding about not only the role of education in America, but those things that need to be taught outside the sphere of formal education. Because that’s how we got to where we are today – Big Ed monopolizing things.
First, it amazes me how all the babble about “moving into the next century” and discarding old ideas about education and it’s implementation always wins the day. Especially the push to remove children from their traditional homes as early in life as possible and put them in education factories. Few on the conservative side of the aisle have been able to make the case that somehow, old-fashioned education was able to produce such things as nuclear power, advances in medicine to treat and prevent disease, putting men on the moon, for Pete’s sake. And still there was no United States Department of Education.
No one’s arguing that using electric typewriters instead of manual, or transistors instead of tubes, or supplementing blackboards with slide projectors was a bad thing. It’s what the curriculums changed to, what base skills were to a large part lost and what the purpose of teaching is. Yes, new methodologies always are welcome, if they work. The New Math worked for about 20 years until those informed by it Peter Principled their way up through the business world and from there on out couldn’t figure out how to turn a profit.
The point is that education has to be, in a free society, a vehicle for giving people the tools first to be able to communicate and assimilate and discriminate, and then to be able to ascend to whatever level they are capable of, and want to.
The other thing is that, and this is where the angst of the traditional scholars, those who love the arts and literature and the languages and history, is being felt, is that education also has to do with ethics and aesthetics and lore and culture. Not multiculture but culture. And this is another clue about how the Statists were able to sneak Common Core into the mainstream – by playing off traditional, hard-working American taxpayers’ desire for a return to the basics and put the bleeding-heart , tree-hugging romantics, as they viewed them, in their place. The Fascists were, of course, one step ahead of all of them.
Perhaps the subject of another essay, one possible explanation for the mental and emotional conditions being discussed today that lead to mass shootings and other violence is the loss of childhood ……..and childhood stories. The old childhood stories. The Nursery Rhymes and the Aesop’s Fables and the Henny Penny’s . And the old saws and adages and life guides kids used to pick up as they matured – the old wives’ tales and the tried-and-true Farmer’s Almanacs. (Won’t get into the Bible here, but ……) We hear a lot about “Oh, read to your kids.” Read what? Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore? And when? When they are one-and-a-half, just before you whisk them off to pre-pre-pre-school, when they don’t yet know the difference between people and animals? Oh, that’s right, there is no difference. Sorry.
In short, there are all types of learning. And teaching. And teaching wasn’t invented at Harvard or Columbia in 1968. But that’s about when and where foxes began to be promoted as the ultimate in henhouse guardianship. How’s that workin’ out for ya? So, the final point here today is that I think there can be a grand alliance between teachers and citizen/parent groups on reforming education. I think it has to start with teachers getting out of the education business, voluntarily, if they love teaching as they profess to do. I think the direction of education has to not only veer off sharply from this Common Core business, I think it has to return to rhyming with the natural development of children to adults. Pre-pre-preschool is not education and remedial higher education is not higher education. Let it go. Also the formal part of it need not consume one third to one half of one’s life expectancy, except in those instances of professional or avocational scholarship. But let the market dictate that.
I think teachers can continue to further their education in Masters and Doctoral programs as needed, but as far as teachers, and especially those calling themselves “educators” being in charge of childhood development, that has to end. I do not doubt the sincerity of the moms and dads out there wanting their kids to be taught the Three R’s and then be given the tools and the exposure to go off on their individual tangents, as well as be exposed to ‘The Arts’. Whether the teaching profession can be counted on to get out of the political and social engineering part of it remains to be seen. But I know the fascists-cum-educators are not going to surrender. We can no longer put any credence in their ‘Words.’ They have different intentions for our little chicks.
Crossposted At Grumpy Opinions