Common Core Hammers the Final Death Nail in Education

Apr 22, 2013 by

CommonCore205x300Eric Wilson – Many of the most recent (and worst) “improvements” to our national education process have come under the misguided banner of reforms such as Common Core.  Its stated objective is to set forth a national K-12 content standard to be adopted by all states to drive education to become more standardized across the country.  Its supposed purpose is to impose more rigorous standards now so that our students will be prepared for competing in the global economy of the future.

Taking a closer look, the true progressive objective here is the development of a more disposable workforce.  Common Core proponents seek to replace the previous American education system with a more standardized, “predictable” approach.  This approach prepares the next generation to become easily assignable cogs in a national or even global industrial system.
As far as the rigorous standards, the current Common Core curriculum will make students less college-ready and force school systems to lower the bar of already deplorable expectations.  Many states actually had more rigorous criteria in place prior to adopting Common Core, and signing on to these new standards is more of a “Race to the Middle” (as frankly admitted by one drafter of the Common Core math standards).  Early adopters of this program – such as Kentucky – have shown no improvement over the past two years and have even gone backwards with 30 to 40-point drops in proficiency tests.
Common Core impacts educators as well forcing good teachers to go from challenging students and truly educating to simply reciting and lecturing.  This is not something that inspires able people to become teachers or makes children eager to learn.  The pressure placed on both teachers and students to meet the standards imposed creates an environment that forces teachers to begin “teaching to the test” rather than focusing on fostering critical thinking skills.
With these new “reforms” in place, teachers will focus even more time toward standardized test subject matter and classrooms will be filled with “dumbed-down” curriculum.  Worse yet, it holds good students hostage to the performance of the least-talented, and those eager children that entered school wanting to learn are relentlessly pounded into the submission of mediocrity.
Ultimately, the result of such education is reduced national innovation, initiative, ingenuity and entrepreneurialism – the very skills and habits which made America the world’s economic leader and which are needed to keep the American economy on track.
For the American public education system, Common Core is the proverbial nail in the coffin.  Everything it is publically billed to accomplish, it will not only fail at achieving, but it will destroy any remaining remnants of learning left in today’s classrooms.
What would be the outcome if all education was instead liberal arts education with lessons of classical literature and religious texts permeating the curriculum?  Imagine the young inquisitive mind reading the great works of the past and expanding their culture and knowledge.  What would it look like if there were no national standards and American education was an extension of the home, church, and local community to not only help instill moral teachings but to challenge critical thinking and cultivate self-governing leaders?
The answer is it would look like the first 250 years America’s founding.  It would foster well-rounded graduates and a self-governing, self-thinking society like the one that brought us the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  It would bring great innovation and a 5000-year leap from the societies that preceded it, and a moral and well-rounded culture.
While methods changed – the structure of the school classroom certainly changed – a liberal arts education was always at the foundation of American schooling.  As a matter of fact, it was into the very late 1800’s that the use of classical literature was the only method for learning any subject.
It was not until the past century where government has tinkered, messed with, and manipulated the public school system – all the while creating more centralized control, becoming more specialized and skill-focused, and building a “conveyor belt” system that produced mind-numb robots.
Self-afflicted, but after 100 years of government intervention there is a problem with education system today. The solution though is not more money, more training, more tests, and definitely not Common Core.  Instead of a single “common core” standard and centralization of our education, we need to de-centralize it.  Education is a family and a community issue, and we need to reclaim local control of educating our children.
Secondly, one size does not fit all, and our exceptional students are not common.  Instead of a conveyor belt system to train our children, we need to free the education system and free the minds of the students.  We must again begin to “teach to learn” instead of “lecturing to recite.”  Teachers left to their own abilities will teach and inspire as they did for generations past.
For a 250-year span that brought innovation and enlightenment, our foundation was a classical liberal arts education.  A nationalized Common Core standard in education will close the door on innovation and not only set us back but throw us forward into educational bondage.  If efforts do not occur to turn back the advancement of Common Core and nationalization of our education system, our children may not learn or ever again realize the liberties this country once offered its citizenry.
Author: Eric Wilson is the co-chair of the 9/12 Project, Network Administrator and founder of Brush Fire, and is the co-author of the book “We Surround Them; Our Journey From Apathy to Action”
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