Tag Archives: Obamacare

Common Core Standards and the Destruction of Minds and Freedom

Submission by R. D. Hughes

When the new Common Core Standards—a “nation-wide” set of standards—was introduced into Georgia Public Schools last year, I was a high school English teacher at a metro Atlanta area school.  I left the profession in September due to stress-related heart problems, and I am sure that the Common Core was the final straw which made the career intolerable for me.

These standards are a dangerous leap forward for tyranny in the United States, and it is no accident that they have been introduced at a time in this nation’s history when the influence of tyranny and repression are transforming the U.S. into a totalitarian state.  This is by design, and the design is to destroy whatever is left of freedom in this country.  Common Core plays its part in this process in two ways:  by destroying any semblance of freedom in education; and by destroying the minds and critical thinking abilities of students and instructors, making them ever more susceptible to state indoctrination and control.

From the very first training session for Common Core, I knew that something was wrong.  They were similar to the Georgia Performance Standards which were already in place, but were much more rigorous and detailed for each grade level.  The stated goal was to prepare students to enter any university anywhere in the country with the same basic educational background.  The student would be able to attend college in any State and be assured that he/she would fit into the program with maximum efficiency…all so he/she could be a productive part of “the global economy.”  The red alert began to sound when it was mentioned that all States would eventually be brought under the Common Core program.

In other words, American education will be controlled by a central authority—the same centralized, authoritarian mechanism used in the former Soviet Union, and anywhere else that tyranny has crushed the freedom of individuals en masse.  Standards today—lesson plans tomorrow.  Soon it will not matter what individual states, communities, schools, or teachers wish to teach, or what students wish to learn.  All will be controlled and enforced by powerful bureaucrats.  Imagine the “principles” of Obamacare applied to education.

Even worse, the Common Core Standards are designed to destroy the minds of those subject to it.  I make the following observations strictly from the viewpoint of an English teacher observing the effects of the English standards.

The primary goal of these standards is to destroy the ability to read, including higher-level thinking.  First of all, literary works of high quality and attractiveness, such as the Odyssey, are to be disposed of in favor of useless “informational texts,” such as local government policy initiatives (an actual example from the training).  Who cares about that?  How does that form the character or nourish the soul?  Second, students will read only selections from the literary works that still remain in the curriculum instead of the entire work, thus giving Big Brother the ability to suppress all content that does not fit the government agenda, while further weakening the desire and ability to read by giving an incomplete and erroneous context to the student.  Finally, students have their reading and thinking abilities fragmented by incessant requirements to identify the “elements” of literature and argument rather than just reading and allowing the “elements” to perform the function for which they exist: to produce meaning for the reader.  It’s like trying to teach someone to drive a car by demanding that they memorize and regurgitate each part of the engine or chassis.

That’s it in a nutshell.  The situation in American education is worse than you would ever believe, Dear Reader.  This just scratches the surface.  Most likely, it is already too late to remedy the situation.  I told my colleagues midway through the training session that Common Core was like that episode of Southpark where Cartman figures out that if you cram food up your butt, you will crap out of your mouth.  The fact that no one laughed or seemed to understand the symbolism involved tells me just how late it truly is.

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Filed under National Standards (Common Core)

The Sunday Education Weekly Reader 12.11.11

Thanks to Gretchen Logue over at Missouri Education Watchdog, this is a weekly feature on her website. We wanted to cross-post it here.

Welcome to the Sunday Education Weekly Reader for 12.11.11.  Highlighted today:

  • Another story comparing education providers to living in the Wild, Wild West to make money , rather than living there to provide better education;
  • The tipping over of the education pyramid;
  • An analogy on how the Common Core standards are akin to Obamacare and the proposal of one group to stop them.

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Not only are businessmen like Bill Gates and convicted hedge fund managers like Michael Milken setting policies and direction for education, so are social networkers.  From Bloomberg Businessweek:

Reid Hoffman and Matt Cohler, two of Silicon Valley’s social-networking pioneers, are throwing their hats into the education ring.

The entrepreneurs-turned-venture capitalists today led a $15 million investment in Edmodo, a free learning site for teachers and students that claims almost 5 million registered users. The cash pile, from Greylock Partners and Benchmark Capital, gives the management team the runway to hire developers and add products without doing the one thing they prefer not to talk about: making money.

Rob Hutter, the company’s chairman, said the new financing gives the company “several years” to build and expand the product without worrying about generating revenue. He and Borg are looking for developers who are passionate about education and want to build something that they say is helping change education. (emphasis added)

Of course, venture capitalists don’t invest in startups unless they see the opportunity to make several times their money back, and Greylock and Benchmark have been among the most successful firms in that regard. 

Question:  How are these social networkers (investors) helping to “change education”?  The delivery of providing education is what they are changing, not the education itself.  Remember, the education (WHAT students are learning) is controlled by the Federal Government, the NGA and the CCSSO.  These venture capitalists are providing the vehicles to deliver education, not crafting the core of what students are learning.  Remember what Scott Joftus said about education:

“You know we’re in a new era when school turnaround firms in the U.S. are being funded out of the Middle East,” Joftus said. “To me, that says there’s money to be made. I call this period the Wild West in education.” 

There IS money to be made in education reform but is it really “for the kids”?  If investors and developers are delivering educational “reform” that  is faulty and insufficient at is core, it doesn’t matter how it’s presented.

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Education Week reports on the “education pyramid”.  The pyramid is:

the prevailing model of ed policy decision-making, illustrated in The Mitchell 20 film: a hierarchical pyramid, with decision-making power concentrated at the peak–Congress and the Department of Education– flowing down through layers and layers of state bureaucracy, district offices and administrators, and ending up on the shoulders of teachers.

The author envisions what it might be like if that pyramid is turned on its side and the power would flow horizontally so teachers would have more voice (megaphones) in the actual teaching of children.

I would add additional stakeholders to the pyramid.  Parents and taxpayers need admittance into that pyramid and a turn at the megaphone.  Everyone wants a seat at the table but parents and taxpayers seem to never be mentioned as an important stakeholder.  After all, they are the ones paying for the education and they provide the human capital necessary to staff these publicly funded halls of learning.

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Will conservatives finally push back on the educational version of Obamacare? Why haven’t more legislators made the connection the educational reforms are as constitutionally egregious as the health care plan?  From Heritage and its reporting on model legislation waiting for adoption by ALEC:

For the past two years, the Obama Education Department has been supporting an effort to implement national education standards and tests. The national standards push, which will affect all public schools, has been underway outside the normal legislative process. At least (to quote Jim Stergios of the Pioneer Institute) Obamacare went through Congress.

It’s time for state leaders to stand up to strong-arming from Washington, instead of faulting conservative organizations for pushing back on this latest federal overreach. A nationalization of education is underway, and unless conservatives work to fight Washington’s power grab, Obamacare won’t be the only overreach we’ll have to live under.

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Educational quote for the week:

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

H. G. Wells (1866 – 1946), Outline of History (1920)

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