"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, May 8, 2013

Post Dispatch STL Today's Disingenuous Editorial on Common Core Standards. Susan Ohanian Chimes In.

The definition of disingenuous amply sums up the St. Louis Post Dispatch's editorial on Common Core standards and the recent meeting DESE held "informing" the public on the initiative.  From a google search of the word:


Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.

insincere - false - devious - hollow-hearted

You can read the editorial here.  The readers' comments are overwhelmingly against the PD's stance and the paper's integrity is called into question. Those with any factual knowledge about Common Core and who have read more than what the Post has published about CCSS will recognize this editorial as reprinting talking points about the initiative from either CCSSO or the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  There are no facts in this editorial piece to back up the editorial board's statements, but why should a newspaper let facts stand in its way?

Susan Ohanian wrote about this disingenuous attempt by a newspaper board to dismiss people who don't agree with the adoption/implementation of the standards.  From her post Paranoia about 'common core' is a lousy way to fix schools:


NC Reader Comment: I am sit on the Parent Advisory Board at my child's school, I have volunteered there for years, I regularly attend School Board meetings. My State, NC, was awarded 400 million dollars by Race to the Top and we committed to Common Core without any public notice at the local level. I can promise you that

Ohanian Comment: Calling Common Core opponents paranoid reveals a lot of editorial ignorance. Why should parents be polite to people who mouth Common Core boilerplate? Count how many words in this uninformed, biased editorial that repeat boilerplate right out of press releases from the National Governors Association, Achieve, et al, that is to say, repeat misinformation:

  • bipartisan

  • competing in a global economy

  • National Governors Association initiative

  • much public discussion

  • a very public process

  • The only factual part of the above list is bipartisan. To the shame of both parties, they followed lockstep with the corporate initiative.

    The competitive global economy is so important to these editorialists that they used it twice.

    The editorialists claim there have been no secrets about the Common Core. Ha! I wonder if the editorialists know who paid for the Common Core --or who wrote the Standards.

    When bureaucrats and politicos won't listen, then maybe shouting is the only option. Calling opponents paranoid isn't much of an argument. And trying to brand conservatives opposing the Common Core as nut jobs is just an attempt to drive a wedge between people of different political persuasions--so they won't join hands in fighting the Common Core. I am very far from being a Glenn Beck fan, but I watched one Glenn Beck show about the Common Core and I agreed with about 75% of the points made.

    I found only one word to agree with in this editorial: Yes, the Common Core received bipartisan support. That's no surprise. Most politicos are much more eager to look to corporate moneybags than to their own constituents. My bumper sticker reads: Republicans/Democrats: Same shit/different piles. Kathy Emery, my co-author for Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? noted, "When Ted Kennedy and George Bush agree on something, you need to worry about who the man behind the curtain is." While writing our book, it became clear to us that the men behind the curtain are the members of the Business Roundtable.

    You'd find out more by reading Missouri Education Watchdog comment on this editorial than by reading the editorial itself.


    Imagine a school conference that begins like this:

    The teacher explains to the parent the progress being made by his child, based on grades of various tests and homework. Those results stem from a curriculum posted on the school's website for all parents to see.

    The parent gets angry. Really angry.

    "Tell the truth!" he or she screams at the teacher, who tries to calmly explain the rationale for the curriculum and grading.

    Not satisfied, the parent strikes out again.

    "Are you using my kid as a science experiment? Why are you trying to control his thoughts?"

    This was the actual scene the other night at the Lindbergh School District as a supervisor with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education tried to explain the various elements of the new "common core" curriculum standards being adopted in Missouri and 45 other states.

    The anger is being fueled by conspiracy theorists, including some in the Missouri Legislature, who see the common core movement as some evil federal takeover of schools, rather than the thoughtful and bipartisan attempt that it is to raise standards and unify them across state lines so that the United States can do a better job of competing in a global economy.

    For too long, schools from district to district and state to state have had wildly different standards and tests that make it harder for some students to compete and harder for parents and educators to get a handle on how well schools are performing.

    The bipartisan effort to develop common core standards in reading, writing and math grew out of a National Governors Association initiative. The standards were developed over a several-year period of much public discussion at the local, state and federal level.

    Missouri's Board of Education adopted them in 2010, and the state has been working with local districts to implement them ever since.

    The meetings held at Lindbergh and seven other sites statewide last week were an attempt to appease Republican lawmakers who have been trying to put the brakes on the Common Core Standards. Some, including Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, argue there hasn't been enough information made available about the standards.

    To them, we say: Perhaps you shouldn't have skipped your child's school conference.

    The Missouri Board of Education holds open meetings. It's been very public about its process. Governors in nearly every state have been touting them. There have been no secrets about the common core.

    Fact is, a few Republican politicians, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have decided "common core" is the new "Obamacare," a wedge to be used to divide a nation that seems to be easy to divide these days.

    The Glenn Becks of the world are telling their gullible radio listeners that the common core standards are part of a federal and international socialist brainwashing plot. Mr. Cruz, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, likely doesn't believe that, but when he signs a letter asking the federal Department of Education to delay its implementation, he sends a signal to those motivated right-wing activists that he's one of them.

    Education policy should be above such low-brow political antics, but, unfortunately, it's not.

    The good news about the Missouri Legislature is that a bill to block common core standards is unlikely to pass. Rural superintendents still hold enough sway to keep lawmakers from extremely conservative districts from supporting measures that will damage local schools.

    The enemy here is not the standards, and it's not the educators trying to find a way to prepare our children for the competitive global economy.

    It's people who believe that shouting down a bureaucrat at a public meeting accomplishes anything. Ever.


So let me get this straight.  The Post Dispatch in an editorial encourages the Occupy Movement, folks demonstrating against entrenched privatization and that's acceptable behavior and motivation:
The result is "a feeling of mass injustice," says the Occupy Wall Street manifesto, which includes a long and eclectic list of specific causes and grievances — which an asterisk notes is not intended to be all inclusive. Mortgage foreclosures. Corporate bailouts. Executive bonuses. Factory farming. Animal cruelty. Corporate control of news media. And so on. (MEW note: see below)

You never know when a moment will become a movement. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, 1955, Rosa Parks rode a Montgomery, Ala., bus home from work without incident. The next evening she refused to give up her seat. The cause was right, but the struggle continues. Lasting change takes courage, persistence and dynamic leadership.
The Occupiers aren't there yet. But they've started.  

The same newspaper belittles parents and taxpayers who are feeling the same frustration at the educational industry.  The "And so on" from the above editorial apparently doesn't include taxpayers railing against the corporate/private takeover of education and the silence and/or complicity of the politicians and bureaucrats allowing it to happen.  I'd call that disingenuous, wouldn't you?

For more articles from citizens who attended the Lindbergh DESE meeting, click here.  To sign the petition to slow/rid Common Core implementation in Missouri, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Common core proponents are yelling they are just offering standards to school boards and parents, not curriculum.

    When the big progressive corporate powers that be bought out all of the Independent Math Curriculum Companies, they made certain to dumb them all down knowing that when curriculum committees went looking for a "world class" Math book, it really did not matter which one was chosen, because they all stunk.

    Heads they win, Tails we lose...Suckas!

    Here is what they did to Saxon Math:



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