"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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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Teachers Sing about "Common Core Magic". Are They Under a Spell?

Teachers appear once more on youtube singing about Common Core standards.   This version from South Dakota is described as a...Blues song written collaboratively by Scott Simpson and South Dakota 9-12 English Language Arts teachers working on disaggregating and implementing the new Common Core State Standards. 

According to the song, teachers have the "Common Core Blues", feel stressed out and confused, but ultimately, they know the standards are the answer to educational woes.   

Read the lyrics and remember, teachers, taxpayers and students have been sold out by the politicians, unions and special interests to get these standards adopted.  As professionals, teachers should be rising up and refusing to be trained in unproven, untested and unconstitutional methods of educating children using taxpayer money. 

Collaboration and using standards in South Dakota (that are also used in Alabama and Philadelphia PA) won't necessarily 'create success'.  The song says the teachers are looking for "Common Core Magic".  That might be one kind of magic teachers don't want to conjure up.  It creates bureaucratic nightmares, underfunded mandates and loss of any local and/or state educational control.  This video about common core standards invokes the use of prayer, but prayer won't help this disastrous educational edict.  It's beyond redemption.

Here are the lyrics and the video:


Got to get me some standards

Some standards I can use...
Yeah, I'm here with my computer
And my DIS-AG-GRE-GATIN' shoes
I got 'em bad, I got 'em good,
These Common Core Blues...

Well, I'm just an English teacher searchin'
Sittin' waitin' for a sign
You know there's somethin' heavy on my brain...
And it's standard 11-12 RL9
Gotta keep pushin', though my head hurts,
Keep tellin' myself, it's all gonna be fine!

We come from 'cross South Dakota,
Our training is the key.
We're here for COL-LAB-O-RATION,
COL-LAB-O-RATION for our posterity.
So we're singin' this here blues song
Just to save our sanity.


Gotta check out all this info 
Common Core magic's what we seek,
Gotta toss the dusty garbage
From our lessons, oh, are we gonna tweak!
Gotta spread the word to all the peeps
Rusty relics are gonna FREAK!

In preppin' my lessons
I gotta shift into rewind
I want 'em to KNOW, UNDERSTAND & DO
So we won't be drivin' blind.
No, I don't wanna leave 'em,
Don't want to leave all those students behind!

Oh, but Time, she's against me
Tryin' to align standards I can use-
Gonna, pray to the inservice gods
Pray, pray to the inservice muse...
Please please give us the time,
The time to plan, align and light the fuse!

Cause those students are comin' in
From 'Bama, Philadelphia PA
They're bringin' all sorts of skill sets
(Who can make sense of this anyway?)
Well the common Core Standards
Are gonna hook us up, hook us up for success today.


Many have been here before...
Many will come this way again.
Challenges? Yeah, we can name a few!
But now, fellow teachers, we must begin!
Continuity, communication, and materials...
Finish this by..wait, finish this by WHEN?

See, I gotta tell you somethin'
It ain't easy to make a change!
This whole process 
Is really kinda strange.
How am I gonna use this
Back down home, on the Range?

Guess I gotta change my way of thinkin'
With this new Common core...
Gonna have to help ALL my students
To face the world with a roar!
Yeah, yeah-bring it on DOE...
What move is in store?

Chorus 2X


  1. This is an example of hope and change gone bad.

  2. Actually... this was less an attempt to articulate an educational philosophy than an activity for building community and having some fun. But thanks for including our little ditty in your discussion and giving us some extra hits on YouTube. In most cases, we'll never agree fully with any approach, but these teachers came together to do their best for students, given the new standards being introduced in our state. The trainings were voluntary and included teachers with a variety of opinions about the standards. We had many, many productive discussions.

    I'd recommend that any state starting a new educational initiative begin by sitting in a circle and singing. ;)


  3. Thanks for writing Scott.

    I'd recommend that any state starting a new educational initiative research it first and not institute standards that are unproven and untested, and also take away the authority of the state to set its own standard as set forth by the Constitution. Sitting in a circle and singing about unproven, untested and unconstitutional standards is a bit frightening to me and if that is what the teaching profession is reduced to, American public education is doomed.

    Teachers used to be leaders in the past. Apparently they are now followers.

  4. Excellent Reply, Gretchen! Do people really understand the influence these kinds of teachers have on young minds and how they are teaching young minds to blindly follow, without thought to character, logical thinking, and long range - life altering outcomes of this kind of exposure? We are doomed.

  5. In my humble opinion, parents, community members and taxpayers are the ones who have to step up on these expensive, experimental initiatives. In this compliance-driven environment, teachers, as employees, must obey or risk losing their jobs.

    One Florida teacher stood up, the district suspended him for insubordination during the "investigation" and he won. This is a rare and brave act. Families depend on paychecks to put food on the table.

    If adding some levity to an already tough situation gets teachers up, off to work to serve the students, then I understand and empathize. My concern remains with the actions and non-actions of parents, community members, and taxpayers.

  6. At least some are doing something for kids instead of complaining about the situation we are in. The standards on coming. No fighting it now. Complaining is not the answer. A constitutional fight? I'm in if it's justified and will get us somewhere....but it won't.

  7. Anonymous,

    Then the best action to take for your children is to take them out of public schools. Period. That's the way to complain. Walk with your feet and the district won't get funding. And what are the teachers "doing" for the kids? Making them assessment factories? Teaching them to go along with the system; the path of least resistance?


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