"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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Monday, February 4, 2013

English Teacher Quits Because of Common Core

Reprinted from Conservative Teachers of America: Common Core Standards and the Destruction of Minds and Freedom.  A former English teacher speaks out about Common Core standards.


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.


  1. The Montessori Mad Men are here to help!

  2. Please allow me to present some facts, for which I will provide documentation.
    First, the article states that Common Core sets out to “destroy any semblance of freedom in education.” By this I can only assume you are talking about the teachers freedom to determine what to include in their curriculum and when it will be taught. On page 4 of the introduction to the Common Core Standards, it states that a key design consideration of the standards was:
    A focus on results rather than means.
    By emphasizing required achievements, the Standards leave room for teachers, curriculum developers, and states to determine how those goals should be reached and what additional topics should be addressed. Thus, the Standards do not mandate such things as a particular writing process or the full range of metacognitive strategies that students may need to monitor and direct their thinking and learning. Teachers are thus free to provide students with whatever tools and knowledge their professional judgment and experience identify as most helpful for meeting the goals set out in the Standards.
    You can find further documentation of this intent on page 6 of the introduction where there are six statements of what the standards are NOT.

    Secondly, the article states that Common Core sets out to “destroy the minds and critical thinking abilities of students and instructors.” I would like to refer you to page 7 of the introduction where the criteria for a college ad career ready student are presented. According to the Common Core document a student who can meet the rigorous standards will:
    Demonstrate independence
    Build strong content knowledge
    Respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline
    Comprehend as well as critique
    Value evidence
    Use technology and digital media strategically and capably
    Come to understand other perspectives and cultures
    As students learn to master the standards, “they are able to exhibit with increasing fullness and regularity these capacities of the literate individual.”

    As for, “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” let me refer you to Appendix B of the Common Core documents where a list of exemplar texts is provided for teachers. This is not a mandatory list, but rather a list of works that would be considered appropriately rigorous for students in a particular grade band. The Odyssey is listed as an appropriate text for students in grades 9-10. Yes, there are also “informational text” listed as exemplars such as Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”, King’s “I have a Dream” speech, and Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, all listed in the 9-10 grade band. It is vitally important for students to read, understand, and respond too informational and non-fiction text. Students deserve to have adequate experience in thinking about and responding to the type of informational texts they will see in college or in their career field. It is after all an educators job to prepare students for their futures, not to merely drag them through the literary texts the teacher deems interesting.
    Reference: http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/download-the-standards

  3. "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? ... "

    Oh it most definitely still forms the character and nou... well... feeds, the soul. The question is, to what purpose? One thing that is indisputable, is that it isn't done so as to teach students to recognize what high quality is when they see it, or to understand what a well nourished soul might feel like - those will most definitely be out of the picture. And out of memory.

    What remains to be seen is just how 'efficient' this 'efficient workforce for the 21st century' will be. My guess is that it will be just about as efficient as government run health care.

    Stock tip: Invest in mortuaries.

  4. Causa Finalis has been around since the days of Aristotle

  5. I didn’t learn about common core, however glad to know it had something wrong.


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