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credit: cra.org

credit: cra.org

Joy Pullmann at The Federalist has published a handy compendium of complaints about the Common Core standards/curriculum, appropriately titled “Top Ten Things Parents Hate About Common Core.”  Several examples:

1. The Senseless, Infuriating Math

Common Core math, how do we hate thee? We would count the ways, if Common Core hadn’t deformed even the most elementary of our math abilities so that simple addition now takes dots, dashes, boxes, hashmarks, and foam cubes, plus an inordinate amount of time, to not get the right answer.

There are so many examples of this, it’s hard to pick, but a recent one boomeranging the Internet has a teacher showing how to solve 9 + 6 the Common Core way. Yes, it takes nearly a minute.

Despite claims to the contrary, Common Core does require bad math like this. The Brookings Institution’s Tom Loveless says the curriculum mandates contain “dog whistles” for fuzzy math proponents, the people who keep pushing ineffective, devastating, and research-decimated math instruction on U.S. kids for ideological reasons. The mandates also explicitly require kids to learn the least efficient ways of solving basic problems one, two, and even three grade levels before they are to learn the traditional, efficient ways. There are ways for teachers to fill in the gaps and fix this, but this means a kid’s ability to get good math instruction depends on the luck of having an extra-savvy teacher. That’s especially a downer for poor and minority kids, who already get the greenest and lowest-quality teachers

  1. Dirty Reading Assignments

A red-haired mother of four kids read to our Indiana legislature selections from a Common Core-recommended book called “The Bluest Eyes,” by Toni Morrison. I’m a grown, married woman who enjoys sex just fine, thank you, but I sincerely wish I hadn’t heard her read those passages. I guess some people don’t find sympathetically portrayed rape scenes offensive, but I do. So I won’t quote them at you. If you have a perv-wish, Google will fill you in. Other objectionable books on the Common Core-recommended list include “Make Lemonade” by Virginia Euwer Wolff, “Black Swan Green” by David Mitchell, and “Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia.

There are so many excellent, classic works of literature available for children and young adults that schools can’t possibly fit all the good ones into their curriculum. So why did Common Core’s creators feel the need to recommend trash? Either they want kids to read trash or they don’t think these are trash, and both are disturbing.

By all means, take the link (and the links embedded in the article) and read the whole thing. Common Core is not only as bad as you surmise, it’s worse.

The greatest problem, of course, is the tendency toward top-down mandates that obliterate local control of education. There are powerful interests that would love a “magic curriculum,” as I’ve recently written. A “magic curriculum” is a system whereby every child in a given school district, state or the nation, on February 23rd at 10:05 AM is reading page 347, paragraph 4, sentence 2 of the prescribed text. It is a way of group-thinking that removes, to the greatest possible degree, teachers as an element in the learning process, and replaces them with an “expert” designed curriculum that will, being designed by experts, produced heretofore unheard of gains in learning and achievement. This will require companies like Pearson to produce the mandated texts and supporting materials—the profits would be truly obscene—and a great many politicians and educrats around the nation to rake in the graft.

True, this might eliminate bad teachers, but it would also eliminate excellent teachers. Everyone would be average, which means everyone would be less than average. And we know what kind of materials would be mandated.

If progressives were in charge, for instance, American history would be taught—just as the new AP exam “framework” demands—from a very progressive, culturally relative viewpoint. America is an evil, racist, sexist, oppressive power responsible for all of the world’s ills.

If conservatives were in charge, students would be taught that America has made mistakes, but that it is the greatest, most generous and altruistic nation in history. Students would actually be taught to be patriotic and to take pride in their nation. Such horrific indoctrination is currently being protested by students in Colorado who apparently think being told anything positive about America a violation of their rights to think themselves put upon victims about to be force-fed actual American history.

Ultimately, Common Core is, as Col. Jeff Cooper said about double action semiautomatic pistol mechanisms, “an ingenious solution to a nonexistent problem.”