"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Isn't Missing from the Common Core Standards?

The "Me Too"ing has begun. Continued data collection on US student performance, so that we may compare ourselves with other countries (a flawed practice that has been discussed many times in this blog before), is developing a picture of education "deserts", if I may borrow the first lady's phrase. Voices are popping up from all the various disciplines crying about the lack of focus on their field. The data, rather than developing a clear picture about what we should be changing in the curriculum to fill in the blanks, is producing developing an image of US education as a giant sieve.

A sampling of recent article headlines shows all the areas that are supposedly missing from the development of Common Standards.

  • Social, Behavioral Sciences Left Out of Standards Blueprint
  • Gay History Taught Now Required in CA
  • ELA Standards Lacking
  • Advocates Lament Computer Science Gap in Standards Push
  • Proficiency in Social Studies Eludes Most U.S. Students
  • NRC Framework Sets Stage for New Science Standards
  • Significance of Pre-Kindergarten Standards

You'd think our children go to school all day and learn nothing. In fact, this is nothing more than an opportunity for special interests to get their foot in the door and get funding. At the end of the day, if ALL this material is crammed into a common curriculum, the school day would be twelve hours long and no adult could win "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?"

In theory, we could try to teach children everything about every topic, but is this the point of public education? We need to start asking that question, "What is the purpose of public education?" And until we reach some sort of consensus, maybe we should put the breaks on a common core curriculum.

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