American public is failing on a daily basis. All parents who love their children at least as much as they love themselves are morally obligated to do something about this on behalf of their offspring. I send both of mine to a private school. I already feel like my parents once did when my sister and I were going to college. A friend of my wife’s has insisted that her family immigrate back to South Korea. Not because the food is better, nor due to a sense of racial solidarity. It’s that she visited the old country and noticed something about her daughter, a student at Huntsville, AL public schools. She noticed how her bright and vivacious daughter was a good eighteen months behind a couple of other 3rd graders in the Seoul public school system.
This doesn’t particularly surprise me. Stories of about a societal lack of concern for our children in the United States no longer shock the jaded, dilettante consumer of current events. Neil Stevens wrote a rather horripilating description of the new political correctness implicit in the so-called standards that the Common Core curriculum would teach and enforce. According to Neil, “First grade kids are being taught in their English classes that they need to appeal to emotions when making persuasive writing, to make people want something even if there’s no facts or logic for it.” This shocks me not at all. The curriculum was written by people who consider logic an ideological inconvenience.
Who in their right mind would consider logic and ideological inconvenience? Most of us would rather our doctor know the difference between a liver and a gall bladder even if that individual were an anarchist who worshiped The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Some things just should not be steeped in ideology and bad marijuana smoke. Everyone is better off if the neighborhood kids all graduate literate and able to support themselves. So how does a basic societal function like teaching Johnnie how to read get subjected to radical polics?
Aaron Clareyhas some answers via The MacIver Institute. A recent taxpayer-funded educational conference in Madison, Wisconsin gives us some insight as to just how slanted, amoral and unconcerned with actually teaching basic skills the people in charge of educating your children can become if they are allowed to get away with it. Kim Radersma*, a leader at the conference, gives us a flavor of what drove the people who wrote Common Core.
"Teaching is a political act, and you can't choose to be neutral. You are either a pawn used to perpetuate a system of oppression or you are fighting against it," Radersma said during the session. "And if you think you are neutral, you are a pawn. If you don't want to work for equity, get the **** out of education," Radersma said. "If you are not serious about being an agent of change that helps stifle the oppressive systems, go find another job. Because you are a political figure."
This attitude is tragic for two reasons. It undermines civil society and it forces all of us off the sidelines into a melee that shouldn’t even have to happen. Unlike my wife’s vivacious and strong-willed friend, most of us lack dual US and South Korean citizenship. This leaves us mere mortals with three viable actions. We can homeschool, we can fork over private school tuition or we become active and vocal participants in the local political debate over educational standards.
If you choose option one, you pay in time. If you choose option two, you pay in money. Members of your local educational establishment will therefore develop other methods of making option three as difficult and inconvenient as possible. Nobody involved in the current education profession wants active parental involvement beyond a limited, “rah-rah” sort of a support. They want you to cheer them on, but do not want your input as to where they should march. Another session held at the Madison White Privilege Conference tells us what we can expect as politically concerned parents. Some details follow below.
"There's been a recent academic study, and I say academic because people here are, most of you are academic something-or-the-others, and there has been a longitudinal study that finds the longer you are in the Tea Party, the more racist you become," he told the group. Soon after, an attendee asked, "In your judgment would you say the Tea Party is a 'hate group'?" Zeskind said that he doesn't use the term, but argued the group is racist. "I don't ever use the term 'hate group.' I don't use it, it is unscientific, imprecise and subject to all sorts of bull**** as far as I'm concerned," Zeskind** said. "You know, I used to use it when I was in that universe of working for somebody else, and so-forth. I think you call it for what it is. Is it racist? Yes."
So Common Core is a symptom, but not the disease. It is a warning-beacon telling us that we are trying to raise children in a culture that could care less if they grew up hopeless and helpless. It should be fought vociferously, of course. As parents, we should either fight to change our radicalized and dishonest public school systems or evacuate our children from them completely. At some deeper level reading about this educational conference in Madison leaves me wondering about something beyond just the moral and intellectual poverty of our so-called educators. Do we still live in a society that wants to have a future? Things that effect the future of children directly are a very accurate indicator of whether our leadership still even cares or not.
*-We can judge Ms. Radersma’s effectiveness as a High School English Teacher from the quote below.
** - Again the profanity from the people on the front lines of teaching our children decent values.