William Korach: Reporting on the Report Card

Dec 11, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) William, first of all, tell your readers a bit about yourself- and your education and experience.

William Korach has held senior executive positions with Citibank, New England Life, and KPMG Consulting where he was responsible for implementing marketing technologies worldwide. Korach is a former Commander in the United States Naval Reserve who served on Active Duty during the 1960′s aboard the destroyer USS John R. Pierce and was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. At the close of Desert Storm, Korach wrote a paper for the Assistant Secretary of Defense on media coverage that was presented at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

He was president of the Navy League of the United States, St Augustine Council in 2010, and has written articles for Sea Power Magazine on National Security. The Navy League sponsors youth programs like Sea Cadets and Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. Korach is an active instructor in these programs. Korach was educated at the University of Chicago Laboratory School and earned his BA at the University of Wisconsin in History.

Korach recently completed a history textbook Rock of the Republic because of his concern that America’s great heritage is no longer being taught in America’s schools. Mr. Korach, says: “I share the concern of David McCullough Pulitzer Prize winning author of 1776 and John Adams that our children’s ignorance of American history is a threat to national security.”

2) Now, when did you first start publishing “The Report Card”?

I started publication of The Report Card on July 2, 2011 with an article entitled: “Preserving Our Nation’s Heritage.” Since that time, The Report Card has earned 39,000 readers per month, and an additional 42,000 fans on Facebook.

3) In your mind, what has been the most interesting story this year?

The rise and fall of The Common Core Standard. I have never seen such attention paid to education and such a reversal of favor of an educational concept, and even the role of the Federal Government in education

4) What was the most interesting story that you have ever covered?

Again. the story of the Common Core’s rapid almost invisible rise, and it’s equally rapid crash on the rocky shoals of public opinion. One year ago, most people, even many educators, were only dimly aware of it. Like Obamacare, the more we see, the uglier it gets. It is also interesting because opposition to Common Core is genuinely bi-partisan.

5) What seems to be the nationwide reaction to this thing called Common Core?

Although Governor Bush often blames the Tea Party for attacking Common Core, a good many liberals that care about education oppose Common Core as an unproven theory. Conservatives are concerned about privacy and loss of our national heritage through diminished history instructions. Many educators oppose it because of the intensity of high stakes testing. There is quite a bit to dislike.

6) Let’s report on the cheating that has been pervasive over the past few years-how widespread?

School administrators and teachers whose pay is tied to performance on CCSS tests have driven cheating, most notably in Atlanta, but also in Philadelphia. How widespread, I can’t say, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

7) In general, what kind of grade- would you give American education? A,B,C, D (and feel free to use + or -)

D- America spends more and gets less for their educational dollar than any country on earth. We jettison the tried and true for unproven theories. For example, reciting, debating, and rigorous writing-I mean over 2000 words, and in-depth reading have vanished. Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough says American students are so ignorant of history that it is a threat to national security. How can we have a free nation, when American students know nothing about how we are governed? Kids are allowed to spend 7 hours per day on media, video games, Facebook, texting, and TV, but less than 4 hours per week on their studies. That is a failure of both the educational system and parents.

8) What is the single biggest issue facing American education in your mind?

Our educational system has squandered our national identity. Kids no longer understand that America is an exceptional country. In 1879, Civil War reporter Charles Carleton Coffin wrote a history textbook “The Story of Liberty.” Coffin wrote the book “So you will comprehend what liberty has cost…and what it is worth.” Where are teachers and books like that today? Instead we have “A People History of the United States” by Howard Zinn.

Zinn hated America and it shows on every page of his book. “”A People’s History” is THE most used history book in K-12 in America according to Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars.

9) For many parents with a child with exceptionality, life is quite different. What kind of feedback do you get about the realm of special education? Gifted Education?

My late son William was autistic and required special schools and special care. There are so many special needs that no public school can handle all of it. I get a good deal of feedback from teachers who say it is crazy that special kids have to take mandatory tests even when their IQ’s are less than 50. That is the kind of mindless CYA bureaucracy that harms any kind of learning. In the same way, I hear that exceptional kids are ignored. In New York, in the 50’s and 60’s public school system provided schools like Horace Mann, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Polytechnic for exceptional students. I don’t see that today.

10) What have I neglected to ask?

You didn’t ask me what we should do to improve education. I recently co-hosted an educational conference called “Dare to Think” with the Clay County School Superintendent Charlie Van Zant. We came up with some ideas.

William Korach is First Vice Chairman of the Republican Executive Committee in St. Johns County, FL

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