THE BATTLE TO STOP COMMON CORE !
By Yvette Sutton
July 11, 2015
July 11, 2015
Dear Parents and Grandparents,
As we all know, Common Core is controversial and divisive. It pits parent against parent, parents against educators, teachers against “experts,” parents and teachers against elitist autocrats, parent and teachers against testing companies, parents against software giants, parents and teachers against Common Core advocacy organizations. The factions are many.
The issues being debated are serious with profound implications for America’s future. Is Common Core a new concept or just yet another name for the same goals, curriculum, assessments and remediation proposed repeatedly in a long line of initiatives over 25+ years? Is Common Core a national curriculum or merely a set of standards and benchmarks? Why is Common Core necessary? Will Common Core improve education or destroy any remnant of traditional academics? Will psychological remediation be performed on non-disabled students? The mystery and questions surrounding Common Core only mount as the debate skates around some of its more dangerous aspects.
There are documented answers for every question above, but, today, I am focusing on addressing how Common Core affects the student’s mind and, in particular, how Common Core Math prevents the young brain from developing properly. To begin, I offer parents and grandparents a peek inside the mind of humans to briefly recognize the varied functions of this marvelous gift from God. Most of us use the brain and mind interchangeably. “Johnny has a good mind,” we might comment. Sally says, “After I do Common Core math homework, my brain needs a rest.” Just as often, Grampy might say, “I’ve got to mull it over in my mind.” Are the brain and the mind the same entity? Do we “know” just through the brain alone or do we have many ways of “knowing?”
In 1980, while conducting research for a paper I was writing on Values Clarification, I ran across an article featured in the Teachers College Record, Columbia University. It explained the ways a human being has of “knowing.” I was intrigued so I called the editor at that time, Dr. Douglas Sloan. Over 100 scholars in every field had attended the symposium on “Knowledge, Education, and Human Values.”
Their main concern was with the modern attack on the mind, theories and methods of education that reduce the mental activities of the human being to the brain alone, denying and cutting off those activities of the mind, such as memory, intuition, insight, imagination, conscience, inspiration – those functions by which we know intrinsic qualities, absolute truths, God, for example.
Dr. Sloan advised me to beware of theories and processes that deny and cut off these functions of the mind, when what we really need in education are activities that exercise and expand the mind.
Knowledge, Education and Human Values: Toward the Recovery of Wholeness, Critical Issues Symposium Series, Charles F. Kettering Foundation. 1980.
One must ask if the national Common Core curriculum strengthens the functions of the mind. We know that a traditional, academic education does. It is the “disinterested” hot pursuit of the truth, an exciting, mind-expanding adventure. Can we all agree that memory is basic to history, geography, science, reading, spelling, music, art, literature and, of course, sports? (Have to be able to remember those plays that Coach calls.)
When I attended school some 50+ yrs. ago (yikes!), we were expected to think “outside of the box” every day. We had to use our imagination for original stories and poems. We were challenged to “picture” life in another country. Imagination helped put man on the moon! We couldn’t help but appreciate the imagination and that “light-bulb moment” of insight that propelled inventors and scientists. Teachers expected us to analyze historical events for fresh insight. We were in awe of the inspiration that enabled great artists, musicians and writers to create classical pieces and we were encouraged to search in unexpected places for inspiration for our own amateur efforts.
In our everyday world, people discussed “hunches,” or intuition, and we marveled when they were proven true. And let’s be honest, we all hated when our mom’s intuition told her we were up to no good. What usually followed was a moral lesson meant to develop a keen conscience, so we would stay on the right path going forward.
In the past, these functions of the mind were exercised every day, in school and out of class. That is, until psychological pedology invaded the classroom, emphasizing the private domain of the child’s feelings and emotions. Affective education simmered on a back burner from the establishment of the Department of Education in 1965, until psychologists and social engineers teamed up in the mid-70s to push affective education into taking a prominent role in the classroom. Gradually, students began to spend more and more time “on the couch” rather than at the desk. Academic learning was pushed aside in favor of “helping” the child’s social adjustment and enhancing his/her self-esteem. Exploring and treating the student’s psyche was more fun for student and teacher than academics.
For the sake of brevity, I am jumping over 40 years of education history, but know that with the federal and state governments’ initiatives and financial incentives, “experts” in psychology, sociology, education, health and labor experimented on our children and grandchildren to validate psychological curriculum, psychological assessments and psychological treatment, all without the parent’s knowledge or consent.
The Labor Department developed the SCANS (Secretary’s Commission On Achieving Necessary Skills), in April, 1992. The SCANS lists exactly what the student is supposed to master, know, be and do, including the personality traits. The SCANS is the force driving Common Core.
Functional Skills Needed for Effective Work Performance
I. Resource Management: Identifies, organizes, plans, and allocates resources
A. Time: Understands, follows, and prepares a schedule
B. Money: Prepares and follows a budget
B. Money: Prepares and follows a budget
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