Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Common Core: Final Thoughts (I hope--I'm sick of this)

Just talked to an aide for my state senator.  So: it's the teachers/school districts that choose the curriculum.  Common Core provides the standards (e.g. in 3rd grade a kid show know how to do this, in 5th grade a kid should know how to read that, etc).  Teachers decide how to teach and what to use to help children meet those standards.  I wish I had known that before I e-mailed the teacher and attacked the worksheet--I could have been much more tactful.  No wonder she was rather defensive.  She probably picked that workbook herself. Poor lady.

I've been e-mailing a friend over this.  I wrote to her: "This isn't the first history worksheet I've had problems with. Also I don't look at all of them (who has time?), and it makes me wonder if there are other bad ones slipping by me.  I hate paying teachers to teach my son things I disagree with.  It makes me want to dump some workbooks in the harbor :-)"

She wrote back:  "The best thing, though, is that if you DO see it and you discuss it with him, it teaches him how to be a critical thinker, which is a valuable lesson.  We spend 4 years in college trying to teach that.  It can be a valuable conversation to point out what you don't like and talk about it with him."

I feel much better after reading that.  I've been very agitated over this whole thing.  I don't want to home school, and yet I don't want my children being taught incorrect principles.  I'm going to trust that Heaven will help me see the bad things, so I can discuss them with my children and help them see right from wrong and become critical thinkers.  I feel good about that.  Not so excited about forever checking up on what is being taught, but it is my job...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Common Core: Thoughts from people other than me

You don't have to be a conservative like me to be wary of Common Core.  Check out this website:

Also, read excerpts from my mother-in-law's e-mails to me (posted with her permission):

"Charlotte dear,  Just read your blog quickly.  You are not off base about common core ... It is the "Growing Up Caring" philosophy I fought against years ago.  That textbook also subtly implied that parents are the enemy.  Never dismiss your intuition.  It was my intuition that told me something was terribly wrong with the course and teachings of that book, and my feelings were confirmed when we obtained the teacher's manual which instructed the teachers to create a dichotomy in the classroom and then work to the end that the students would overcome their belief in absolutes.  Frightening!  At that time I also read the statement that the secular humanists were using the school classroom as their pulpit.  Are we not seeing  the fruit of their labors in our society today?

"Another quick thought:  Perhaps ... the teachers don't intend to disparage parents, yet the end result is exactly that.  Message of sheets:  Parents force; parents are unfair; where will it lead?  rebellion against parents is justified.  (One who is drunk and driving doesn't intend to kill the passengers in the oncoming car when he hits head on, but he does.  Intention is not the whole ball game.  Result, fruit of action is the greater consideration.  The poor judgment of ... teachers, though innocent of evil intent, does not justify the result.  Parents need to take action to overcome that which injures the family.)"

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Common Core: Our Tax Dollars Hard at Work

Damon, my 5th grader, showed me one of his school workbooks.  You should take a look, too.  Note this is Common Core.

 Below are some metaphors comparing mothers to Great Britain, babysitters to British soldiers, and a child to the colonists.

(1st Picture) Mother: I built this fence for your own safety.  Please don't leave the yard.  In History: Great Britain orders the colonists not to settle in the west.  They said it was to protect the colonists.

(2nd Picture) Child: Why should I have to act like the babysitter's servant?  In History: The colonists are angry about having to house and feed the troops.

(3rd Picture) Mother: You need to pay me a quarter if you're going to use the phone.  In History: Colonists protest about taxation without representation.

I took a better picture of the next page.  You can read it yourself.

Is anyone feeling disgusted or outraged yet?  I'm not sure if the purpose of this activity is to:
1. Undermine the role of parents
2. Undermine the importance of the American Revolution or
3. Teach children how to make clumsy metaphors.
It does all three quite well.  I love that we pay taxes so the masterminds behind Common Core can teach our children such wonderful things.  What do we do?  Refuse to pay taxes like Thoreau and go to jail?  I think I'll start by e-mailing my state representatives, letting them know how displeased I am with Common Core.  If you are bothered by Common Core, please do the same.  Update: See May 21, 2014 post.

Sidebar: I flipped through the workbook and found positive things, too, like Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech.  This reminds me of George Will's statement, comparing Common Core to the thin end of an enormous wedge.  Now there's a good (and frightening) metaphor.

Another Sidebar: I e-mailed my concerns to Damon's teacher.  She said the purpose of the worksheet is to show how Great Britain treated the colonists like children.  So maybe I'm way off-base here.  Gah.  I hate having to question my original conclusions...