"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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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Common Core Standards: The Crocodile Sickness Our Students will Suffer

Send the following blog by Susan Ohanian to your school district superintendent and school board members. Then:
  • Ask them their opinion.
  • Ask them to read the texts (Appendix A and B) listed on the Common Core Standards.
  • Ask them why they, as the superintendent and Board members, cannot determine their own district curriculum for the students.
  • Ask them if they feel comfortable with standards and curriculum being set by a consortium funded by taxpayers for private companies with no accountability.
  • Ask them if they are content to deliver education to students that is indeed "one size fits all".
  • Ask them what taxpayers are paying for in public education. Is it really "public" or controlled by private corporations?

From The Crocodile in the Common Core Standards:


“[A]s you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a shit about what you feel or what you think.” Thus, Common Core Standards architect David Coleman delivered[1] the core pedagogy of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to educators gathered at the New York State Department of Education in April 2011. Listen to a few more of Coleman’s proclamations and you have to ask yourself if this is a man of deep experience and rectitude or just a cuckoo bird let loose on a hapless bunch of educrats who don’t know how to voice dissent. Coleman was on stage one hour 59 minutes in Chancellor’s Hall decreeing the new reality of teaching in public schools across America. No one in the audience challenged his bizarre declarations.

Maybe they were in a state of shock.

Or maybe the hall was silent because Coleman is billed as “a leading author and architect of the CCSS, and our professional organizations have already caved in on the Common Core—without a shot being fired. As premier standards entrepreneur, Coleman is a busy man, having already co-written the Common Core State Curriculum Standards and the Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy[2]) . Coleman insists that teachers must train students to be workers in the Global Economy. In his words, “It is rare in a working environment that someone says, “Johnson, I need a market analysis by Friday but before that I need a compelling account of your childhood.” Translation to the classroom: No more primary grade essays about lost teeth or middle school essays about prepubescent angst. Instead, students must provide critical analysis of the “Allegory of the Cave” from Plato’s Republic, listed as an “exemplary informational text” in the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts.[3] If that’s judged as over the top for 12-year-olds, there’s always Ronald Reagan’s 1988 “Address to Students at Moscow State University.”

As though literacy is to prepare children only for a working environment. And as though personal opinion isn’t vital in a working environment.

Coleman is on a mission to slash both the amount of personal narrative in writing and the amount of fiction in reading. This is based not on any experience teaching –except at the University of London–but because, he insists, readers gain “world knowledge” through nonfiction, which he calls “informational text.” Listening to Coleman evokes Kafka’s The Castle: “You have been in the village a few days and already think you know everything better than everyone here.” The difference is that Coleman provides no evidence that he’s been in the public school village even a few days.

Skeptics who might doubt that replacing Brown Bear, Brown Bear with a Wikipedia entry on Ursus arctos will stave off our nation’s economic woes might wonder: Why, if fiction is no more vital than leftover turnips, is there a Nobel Prize in Literature and not in lawyers’ briefs or material from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Web site (listed as a Common Core exemplary text). For more on the prescribed informational text, the reader is advised to do what not more than fourscore in the country have done: Read Appendixes A and B of the Common Core State Curriculum Standards. Surely Appendix A will frost your toes (http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_A.pdf) and then Appendix B will freeze your heart. David Coleman and his Common Core Standards cohorts decree that once teens get through Ovid’s Metamorphoses, they can move on to an article from Scientific American about the Higgs boson. (English/Language Arts Literacy Examples ELA-1 and ELA–2: Focused Literacy, Extended Constructed Response Type, p. 684 (http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_B.pdf)

Text That Informs

Here’s how Michael Dirda opens his new book[4] On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling

Graham Greene famously observed that only in childhood do books have any deep influence on our lives

How many adults first learned about moral complexity from the final chapter of Beverly Cleary’s Henry Higgins,

when the dog Ribsy must choose between two equally kind masters?

Who, at any age, can read unmoved the last pages of Tarzan of the Apes when the rightful Lord Greystoke,

deliberating sacrificing his own hope for happiness, quietly says, “My mother was an ape. . . I never knew who my father was.”

In her New York Times Magazine blog,[v] Ilene Silverman writes of her three favorite books as a teenager: The Chocolate War, Separate Peace, and My Darling My Hamburger. For the teen Silverman, these novels were filled with informational text, providing important information about the world.

Interviewed for the film Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and to Kill a Mockingbird, in which a range of people—from Roseanne Cash to Tom Brokow– talk about the important world knowledge gained from reading Harper Lee’s novel. Ph.D. Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo says, “Masterpieces tap into something essential to us—at the heart of who we are and how we love.” James Patterson says, “You’re suspecting something about Boo—which should tell you something about yourself.”

Of course David Coleman insists we’re supposed to convince students that nobody gives a shit about how they feel or their need to find out something about themselves.

Writing in The New Yorker, Louis Menand says[vi], “When I read a poem I relate it to all the other poems I have read. . . past poems condition my response to any new poem. And the really new poem conditions my response to all the poems that precede it. After “Prufrock,” the Inferno is, ever so slightly, a different poem. Thus text informs text backwards and forwards. Sarah Bakewell says the same thing in How To Live: A Life of Montaigne,[vii] insisting that readers approach Montaigne “from their private perspectives, contributing their own experience of life. . . a two-person encounter between writer and reader.”

In his introduction to Poet’s Choice[viii], MacArthur Fellowship winner and award-winning poet Edward Hirsch advises that biographical, literary, and historical info provides readers a context for their reading. The teacher decides which kind of information is most relevant for each work. The reader decides too. But in presenting his notion of a model lesson for teaching Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter to a Birmingham Jail,” David Coleman snidely rejects out of hand such approaches as providing any biographical, cultural, or historical context for the letter—just as he rejects reader response theory which focuses on the reader as an active agent in the work’s meaning. Instead, Coleman champions what amounts to New Criticism on steroids, insisting that the reader’s sole focus must be only on the words in the text

Although a multitude of expert readers show that the emperor of the Common Core Standards is naked, as long as such professional organizations as the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association (IRA) remain silent, David Coleman seems safe in shouting his absurd declarations from the rooftops. Instead of offering any informed resistance, NCTE and IRA are occupied with figuring out how they can make money from embracing the Common Core—and staving off dissidents in their own ranks. Last year, NCTE resorted to technical excuses for squashing a proposed resolution against the Common Core. But the resolution proposers are back: See Resolution Sent to NCTE (http://susanohanian.org/show_yahoo.php?id=699).

Money Talks, Money Legislates, Money Delivers Classroom Lessons

bill melinda gates The Crocodile in the Common Core StandardsThe Common Core State Standards exist because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wanted them. To help their aide-de-camps, the president and the U. S. Secretary of Education, pretend that these are state and not national standards, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sent buckets of money to the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers to act as sponsors. More tons of money to the National PTA to spread the good word and so on. As I revealed in an article in Extra![ix] very few media have pointed to the money source. Of course very few media even bother to mention anything about the Common Core.

I’d like to introduce David Coleman, Bill Gates, Arne Duncan—and all the rest of the Standardistos– to Chris, who found handwriting very difficult but insisted on laboriously copying out Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Squirrel Nutkin in his notebook. Every word. Dougie asked him, “Why are you doing this? Miz O gave us all our own copy of the book.” And Chris answered, “I know. I just like the way the words feel.” This from a boy who entered third grade loudly complaining about how much he hated both reading and writing. This is the boy who ended the year exchanging letters with his favorite poet, Jack Prelutsky. I’d like to introduce this motley school deform crew to Chris’ classmate Leslie, who contacted me 25 years later, to talk about the importance of Amelia Bedelia in her life.

This Common Core den of thieves who are stealing the literary rights of our students should read Arnold Lobel’s lovely little fable, “The Crocodile in the Bedroom.”[x] A crocodile who loved the neat and tidy rows of the flowers on the wallpaper in his bedroom was coaxed outside into the garden by his wife, who invited him to smell the roses and the lilies of the valley. The crocodile couldn’t stand the “terrible tangle” of freely growing flowers, and went to bed, preferring to stare at neat and tidy wallpaper. There, “he turned a very pale and sickly shade of green.”

With David Coleman as their spokesman out on the stump, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the U. S. Department of Education, acting in concert with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, prescribe a very pale, sickly shade of green future for our vibrant and deliciously messy classrooms. Certainly, Lobel’s moral, Without a doubt, there is such a thing as too much order, applies even more to the classroom than it does to wallpaper. And letting our corporate school reformers steamroll our schools into a neat and tidy standardized product puts our children in great peril.

[1] David Coleman, “Bringing the Common Core to Life”, New York State Department of Education, April 28, 2011

[2] David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, “Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core State Standards

in English Language Arts and Literacy, Grades K–2” http://www.edweek.org/media/k-2-criteria-blog.pdf

[3] National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, “Common Core State Standards,” http://corestandards.org/assets/CCSSI_ELA%20Standards.pdf

[4] Michael Dirda, On Conan Doyle: Or, The Whole Art of Storytelling, Princeton University Press, 2011

[v] Ilene Silverman, “The 6th Floor, New York Times Magazine blog, Sept. 21, 2011

[vi] Louis Menand, “A Critic at Large,” The New Yorker, Sept. 19, 2011, 81

[vii] Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, Other Press 2010, 9

[viii] Edward Hirsch, Poet’s Choice, Harcourt Inc. 2006

[ix] Susan Ohanian, “’Race to the Top’ and the Bill Gates Connection,“ Extra! September 2010 http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4147

[x] Arnold Lobel, “Crocodile in the Bedroom,” Fables, HarperCollins 1980

Friday, October 21, 2011

Are Colleges Really Like Cable Companies?

Education is big business, big money. In fact, it is easy to see which business model colleges and universities use when developing their degree programs. I am writing today about colleges in the way that most people think of them and the way that most of them are run, not in the way they were originally conceived or intended. A desire to return to the original intent (whether university education or government) is admirable, but we must deal with what actually exists first. So bear with me.

Colleges Vs. Cable Company Business Model



Many kids go to college not sure exactly what they want to do “when they grow up”, but they know, or have been told that, if they want a good job, they need a college degree. Lack of a golden ticket to a job (a diploma), leaves students with dubious ability to obtain gainful employment.

Cable watchers may not know exactly which programs they want to see, but they know they want to watch television. To do that they generally must purchase a tv signal delivery system. Lack of such a system leaves only one other option for television viewing, gathering the few remaining broadcast channels for free via antenna, but enjoyment of those limited networks is dubious.

Once in college, kids soon (hopefully) pick a major that appeals to their strengths, though there is no guarantee that having a degree in that major will get them a job. This is not the college’s fault.

Once consumers select a cable or satellite company, there is no guarantee that the networks will provide the type of shows they want to watch. This is not the tv service providers fault.

In order to get the degree/credential they want, colleges make students take courses in other disciplines not related to their area of interest (and probably not of interest to their future employers.) You cannot graduate without taking these required courses, nor are they discounted if they are not in your specific area of study. This diversity is considered to be a perk of a liberal arts education.

In order to get the shows they want, consumers are forced to buy several tiers of packages that contain the networks they want. They cannot get specific stations without purchasing the entire tier. This enables the providers to boast of offering several hundred channels of programming while ignoring the fact that most of their subscribers don’t want 96% of those channels. This access to so many other shows is considered a benefit to cable programming.

Colleges must compete for your dollar. Therefore they load all sorts of extra benefits into their collegiate program like: massive student exercise centers with state of the art equipment that rivals many pro teams training rooms , 24 hour food service, free wi-fi, free printing services, sometimes even free laptops. Even if you never use these services, you will pay for them.

TV service providers load many extras onto their subscriptions to inflate the value of their service like: multiple simultaneous recording, music stations (in an age of iPods), free on demand shows (that you’ve never heard of –for a reason), games (that are slower and way more cumbersome than any of the games you have on handheld devices,) etc. Even if you never use these features, you will pay for them.

There is no refund if a teaching assistant taught the class instead of a full professor

There is no refund if their cable signal was cut off because of service outage in your area.

Two significant ways in which these businesses are different:

1) You can get government loans to pay for college. This is one major reason that costs have increased an average of 6% a year for the last 20 years. Scholarships are sometimes available if the college has a large enough endowment fund. (most do)

You cannot get government loans for cable (yet) although you could get a government subsidy for a digital tv converter box two years ago. NJ had a program to offer subsidies for cable to low income people but, though the money was collected from the cable providers, no means of dispersing the funds was ever developed. Eventually Gov. Christie used the money to plug a hole in the state’s budget. Cable companies do not have endowment funds.

2) If you declare bankruptcy you will probably not be responsible for what you owed to the cable company.

You will still be responsible for your student loan debt as this cannot be discharged if you file personal bankruptcy.

The tv service providers are facing new rivals as on-line providers allow consumers to pay only for those shows they actually watch. This a la carte service (e.g. Hulu, Sling, Youtube), especially attractive to the under 30 crowd, is causing a lot of worry for cable/satellite companies. If college is to be, as school reformers like to say, the place where you are trained for a job, the market is ripe for someone to provide the a la carte accreditation people can currently only get from a very expensive, overly broad, university package.

Or maybe people could just take up reading books.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Up Twinkles for Rand Paul! He Declares NCLB Reauthorization process "rotten from top to bottom"

If you interpret the roles of the Federal Government and the States according to the Constitution, you are cheering Rand Paul's recent procedural move in the Senate to stop the much heralded bi-partisan agreement for the NCLB reauthorization. GW Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation crafted with Ted Kennedy has largely been a costly disaster according to the left and the right. What does the current Harkin-Enzi reauthorization plan propose?

Who knows? It was being rushed through (just like the Health Care legislation) without legislators not having either the interest or the time to read it. It ballooned to 868 pages with 48 hours to review. The original Race to the Top document was also 800 pages and districts were given 6 weeks to review (during Christmas break) before they had to sign...or not.

Everything's a crisis! The sky is falling! This rush to reauthorize is nothing but a replay of RTTT, Obamacare, TARP, stimulus funding, etc. Thank you to Senator Paul for stopping this rush to nowhere (except toward more spending, mandates and federal control) so at least senators and taxpayers understand how the Federal government has taken over all local and state control of education. As he stated:

“I’m one of the old-fashioned conservatives who does believe that schools are and should be under local and state control.”

FINALLY. We are witnessing a politician who is standing up and requiring we look at the process, the content of legislation and question if the politicians are FOLLOWING THE CONSTITUTION. Where are the other senators backing him up? Where are the governors? Where are the constitutionally minded groups? Why is permissible to turn our educational system over to the Federal Government and private organizations to draft standards and assessments with taxpayer money with no accountability?

The only suggestion I would give to Senator Paul in his speech: invite the parents and taxpayers who are funding public education for their input as well (in addition to the teachers, principals and superintendents).

From HotAir:


Rather than unthinkingly reauthorize No Child Left Behind as the president would have had Congress do, the House of Representatives has conducted hearing after hearing about how best to revise it. In the Senate, however, no such process has occurred.

Instead, after a long period of relative quiet on the topic, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), last week proposed to his committee an 868-page bill to reauthorize NCLB. Then, on Monday, he added to it an 868-page manager’s amendment, a re-working of the original dropped bill. The members of the committee had just 48 hours to wade through the manager’s amendment before the committee proceeded last night to a markup of the bill.

But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) objected to the rush. A markup, he pointed out, is supposed to provide committee members with the chance to debate, amend and rewrite proposed legislation. How on earth could they do that, he wondered, with just 48 hours to read the proposal? So, Paul used a procedural rule to halt the markup.

Harkin took the dust-up to the Senate floor, asking the Senate to agree by unanimous consent to allow him to reconvene his committee. Passionately, Paul objected:

“I find it a tragedy that we’re operating here in the Senate by introducing an 868-page bill with 48 hours to read it,” Paul said. “I’ve been here since January and there’ve been no hearings on No Child Left Behind. I’ve had no hearings that involve teachers, no hearings that involve superintendents, no hearings that involve principals. I think this is an affront to the process. As I go around my state and I talk to teachers, I’ve yet to meet one teacher who is in favor of No Child Left Behind. They abhor it. … This process is rotten from top to bottom.”

Paul’s objection sparked predictable cries of “obstructionism.” Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, for example, painted Paul as a senator who doesn’t care to help children in poverty receive a college education. “The senator speaks of the tragedy of this process,” Bennet said. “I’ll tell you what a tragedy is. The tragedy is that only nine of 100 children living in poverty in this country in 2011 can expect to get a college degree. That’s a tragedy.”

But, to some extent, Paul’s move worked. Not only did he manage to postpone the markup until today, buying (a very little bit) more time to read the bill, but he also prompted Sen. Harkin and HELP Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) to call a hearing on the subject of NCLB for Nov. 8 to at least obtain a little outside input on the reauthorization of NCLB before the full Senate votes for it. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.

The entire episode illustrates a couple important realities.

Firstly, while members of both parties agree that No Child Left Behind needs to be “fixed,” they don’t necessarily agree about what the federal role in education should be — and that’s ultimately what this debate is about. Paul gave voice to that in his objection when he said, “I’m one of the old-fashioned conservatives who does believe that schools are and should be under local and state control.” Given the federal government’s gradual encroachments in this area, Paul is right to be on guard.

Secondly, the Senate, by its pitiful attempts to seek input from those most affected by education reform, gives the appearance of being in collusion with the president’s plans to use the problems with NCLB to expand the federal role in education. Harkin says the bill does, in fact, “return a lot to local control,” and Enzi says the reforms in the bill, while not perfect, are “a start,” at least. I hope that’s true — but no harm in having a hearing or two and especially no harm in giving local-control advocates like Paul time to actually read the bill to ascertain its meaning.

Snaps to Paul for staying vigilant.


(Thanks to the HotAir reader for the uptwinkle reference).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teaching Kids To Go Back To Asking "Why"

Those who have children know that period of toddlerhood that causes parents to go through a period of existential angst; that time when their every utterance is met with the response, "Why?" Sometimes the question is sincere. Other times it is simply a very immature attempt to continue the interaction without really having anything of substance to contribute. (Oh boy! Mommy keeps talking to me if I use this word.) The continued "why" device causes us to examine that which we often take for granted to its most basic, and sometimes absurd, emanation. The child who persists long enough is apt to hear an exasperated parent say, "Because I said so!"

Take heart, those of you who are in the throws of whys. That seemingly pointless and frustrating exchange actually teaches children a line of reasoning and the practice of investigation. Childrens' natural inquisitiveness can be channeled into developing critical thinking skills. This is the new watch word in education reform. We all want children to be able to think critically and part of doing that is questioning information that is given to them. But children in the UK are likely hear an exasperated teacher use the "Because" response if they bring this socratic method into their classroom.

In many ways Britain is ahead of the United States in implementing school reform measures with an extreme politically correct agenda. If we want to know how some of the things being proposed in the US are likely to work out, we need only look at the British crystal ball.

Demos, a British think tank, which was founded in 1993 by marxists Martin Jacques and Geoff Mulgan, has begun a campaign to draw public attention to the potential for children to "fall victim" to internet propaganda. Demos was closely affiliated with Tony Blair’s Labour government and continues to be a public relations firm for the British government and security services. Their concern is that children are regularly citing "conspiracy theories" and false propaganda in class because they have not been trained to think critically about information they gather from the internet or other sources outside of school.

On the one hand, this is a valid concern. The internet is full of false or misleading information. Go to Youtube and look up videos on 9/11. In a 15:1 ratio they fall on the conspiracy side, "clearly" demonstrating with video that it was (pick your favorite): planned demolition, Soviet/Chinese missiles, US black ops, radical christians etc.

Wikipedia is based on the belief that truth is just what everyone agrees upon. Their open source encyclopedia has frequently been the target of information hackers with an agenda and no oversight. Students are warned to use it with caution, if at all.

White House information czar Cass Sunstein wrote in a 2008 white paper that conspiracy websites are so abundant, so dangerous, and so difficult to shut down that the government needs a program to infiltrate and undermined them in order to dilute their influence. He even suggested that conspiracy theories (any viewpoint that differs with the official version) be taxed or, if particularly counter to the reining administration, be banned all together.

But not everything on the internet is false. Conversely, not everything presented in school is true. MEW has already questioned the Show Me Standard for Social studies that teaches our children our country has a Democracy. Scores of students have had to sit through Al Gore's disaster (in terms of factual information) movie "An Inconvenient Truth" or PBS's "The Big Energy Gamble" which features Van Jones telling them how green energy will save American jobs and the planet. The first Lady's "Let's Move" program was brought into the classroom and told children that doing a simple dance for 20 minutes a day, along with using the incredibly simplistic (and misleading) calculation of BMI, was going to end their obesity.

If your goal is to develop students with critical thinking skills, shouldn't those skills apply to everything they hear or read, including information in the classroom? Shouldn't they be asking the teacher, "Why does the government get to pick which energy source we use? Why did we start calling our government a Democracy shortly after the turn of the last century? Why is the school (of all places) so concerned about our BMI?" I'm fairly certain it wouldn't take long for them to hear that familiar old refrain, "Because we said so."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Missouri and Other State Legislators Should Follow the Alabama Legislature's Request of Revocation of Common Core Standards

Apparently Alabama senators take the idea of state sovereignty and local control of schools seriously. Several legislators in Missouri have stated they can't stop common core standards because our State Board of Education signed onto the standards and that action is within its authority and there is nothing the Legislature can do.

It is true it is within the State Board's authority to sign onto these standards that means states won't have any power to set educational standards for its students. What IS true is that the Missouri Legislature can stop the common core standards by voting not to implement the standards and cut the funding for any cost of implementation. That is within the legislative power of Missouri legislators.

If you don't like common core standards and the unfunded mandates created by the Federal Government, and private companies (the NGA and the CCSSO) setting educational directives for public education (which the taxpayer funds, not private industry), forward the letter below to your legislator. He/she can use it as a template (similar to ALEC) and start the process of truly having control of state education. Look at the graphic. 2014 is not that far in the distance for these standards to be in place.

From Eagle Forum of Alabama (Please access the link for the full copy of the letter)

Republican Senators, Representatives Ask State Board of Education To Rescind Adoption Of Common Core Standards

13 senators and 8 representatives recently wrote to Governor Bentley and the State Board of Education to ask them to revoke adoption of the Common Core Standards Initiative and refuse any monies tied to a national curriculum.

We would like to thank Senators Gerald Allen, Scott Beason, Dick Brewbaker, Paul Bussman, Rusty Glover, Bill Holtzclaw, Del Marsh, Arthur Orr, Greg Reed, Clay Scofield, Cam Ward, Jabo Waggoner and Ted Whatley as well as Representatives Jim Carns, Ed Henry, Ron Johnson, Wes Long, Mary Sue McClurkin, Barry Moore, Kerry Rich and Mark Tuggle for standing up for local control of education. For more information about why the Common Core Standards Initiative is problematic, click here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

OWS Won't Like This Story. Capitalism Worked for These Students.

Here's a video from John Stossel on "Teaching Capitalism in Schools" via Common Cents. The difference this teacher has made in his students' lives is truly amazing. At one time, this school was the worst in New York City according to test scores. I wonder what these students think about the protests on Wall Street and throughout the globe?

Is it that capitalism is wrong or that crony capitalism (such as in the implementation of common core standards and the pre-selected vendors who will realize a financial windfall) and the power and control resulting from this crony capitalism the primary issue?


John Stossel - Teaching Capitalism in School:

Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic model in history. Countless millions of people have been able to achieve successful lives thanks to Capitalism. John Stossel explores a school in New York City that is teaching Capitalism in their curriculum.

Here is the link to the youtube video. It's quite thought provoking. He's equipping students to take care of themselves and they are developing self-determination and self-respect. What a novel idea. He's not waiting for the consortium to tell him what and how to teach students to make them successful in life.

"Capitalism 101" probably won't make the cut for the standards. It will probably be politically incorrect in the global view of education. Because not everyone can open (or wants to open) their own business, it's not "democratic", so let's not make those unable (or who just don't want to) feel left out. That type of thinking might be agreeable to those in the OWS movement.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Sunday Education Weekly Reader: 10.16.11

Welcome to the Sunday Education Weekly Reader for 10.16.11. This week features the math that is being taught in some classrooms with disastrous results and wasted time, the importance of teaching your children how government works, a letter to the OWS supporters, and a clever (and insightful?) 3 year old British child.


Here's a youtube video of unintended consequences of math curriculum that hinders children, rather than help them. Fortunately, the parents have worked with this young girl so she understands math. If she relied on what she learned in school, it would have been a waste of her time and resulted in a wrong answer. This is a fascinating look at what public education is teaching some children in math.

It's no wonder our children are not STEM ready.


Another issue in our radar this week are the DESE social studies standards and our amazement that students are not being taught they live in a republic vs a democracy. Children need to learn words do matter and so an understanding of society vs state is critical as well.

Teach your Children How Government Works from the Classic Liberal is an important civics lesson they probably won't learn in school today.


An education for the OWS protestors from Judge Napalitano in the form of a letter.


Here is a story from Britain about a 3-year old who escapes the first day of nursery school undetected, crosses a busy street unscathed, and returns home to a very surprised mother.

"I'm Not Staying Here!" declared the child. Why did he want to go home? What would you do with a child who escaped institutionalized education for 3 year olds? Would you take him back to class or determine if the child was better off home?


Education thought for the week:

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

C. S. Lewis

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