The Uncommonly Awful Common Core

I’ve been doing radio for a while.  I’ve interviewed a lot of people – Senators, Congresspeople, State Legislators, Governors, candidates for all of the above, Miss Minnesotas, authors, public intellectuals, fake intellectuals, Princesses Kay of the Milky Way, plate-throwers, journalists, bloggers, athletes, coaches – you get the picture.

And almost every time when I walk into an interview, I know more or less what I’m going to hear.


Now, I don’t normally do a ton of interview prep.  I like to approach a subject from the same perspective that the audience has, from a complete white slate; it’s one of the best bits of interviewing advice Larry King ever gave.  That being said, I’m rarely surprised by what I hear in an interview.  I blog a lot, so I’ve had my mind on a lot of different subjects over the past 12 years. 

But last Saturday was a huge exception.  During the second hour on the NARN, I interviewed Linda Bell and Kirsten Block, from Minnesotans Against Common Core

Now, I figured I was going to hear more talk about national standards.  I oppose them, by the way – I don’t think the federal government should be telling the nation how to educate its children. 

But it’s worse than that.  In fact, it’s so much worse that for one of very, very few times in all of my years of interviewing people, I was actually dumbfounded by what I was hearing.  It was so much worse than I – a cynic who expects nothing good from our national education system – expected that I was nearly speechless. 

Standardized Poltroonery:  If you listen to some of the GOP’s talking heads who’ve come out in support of Common Core, you might think that’s the extent of it; the idea that a national set of standards will help ensure that our children all get a better education (because that worked so well with “No Child Left Behind”).

It’s wrong, of course.  When you nationalize standards, you accede to having them set via a political process, and political processes don’t work any better for allocating expectations in education than they do for allocating resources in an economy. 

That, alone, is reason to fight the Common Core. 

But it gets so much worse than that.

Orwellian:  Indeed, very little about the “Common Core” has much of anything to do with “Core” educational subjects at all. 

From the Fact Sheet at MACC’s website:

  • It’s unconscionably intrusive: National student database – over 400+ data points collected (at a minimum – and likely many more).  Medical Histories?  Religion?  Guns in the house?  Bureaucrats’ impressions of your family life, gathered from mandatory home visits?  On top of the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchanges, the NSA will be the least of most of our privacy concerns. 
  • We’re From Washington, And We’re Here To Get You To Shut The F*** Up:  the program is mandated by the feds.  Parental control? Parental input?  Dream on, peasant. 
  • Richard Trumka Has Always Been A Great Man!:  The curriculae for Common Core programs will be written by bureaucrats – not teachers.  And not just the curriculum specialists who clog your local school systems today – the ones in Washington.  Or the ones that work for the big textbook companies.  Pardon the redundancy. 
  • Shakespeare Out; Ginsburg In:  Western literature will be greatly de-emphasized. 
  • Ryan WInkler Won’t Be The Only Innumerate State Rep:  The math standards are a disaster. 
  • Teaching To The Test Didn’t Work.  Let’s Do More:  One of the worst traits of No Child Left Behind was that it gradually drove teachers and schools to “Teach to the Test” – since the tests were the measure of achievement.  Common Core will be worse – and thus, so will your kids education. 
  • We Had To Pass It To Know What Was In It:  The State of Minnesota’s version of Common Core was adopted by the bureaucracy when the state wanted the federal money that comes with it, four years ago.  Neither Congress nor the Legislature had the foggiest clue what was in it.  They still largely don’t – which is why you see people like Jeb Bush supporting it.

Any school, public, private, charter or home, that gets any shred of federal assistance will be subject to the rules.

Common Core is an abomination, and needs to be repealed. 

I’m a small fish in a small pond – but I will actively work against any and all politicians who don’t condemn and work to repeal the Common Core as it is currently slated for implementation; with the intrusions, the lack of local involvement, the continued centralization of public education (and private and home-schooled education, as well. 

Whatever their party.

Cross-posted and comments welocme at Shot In The Dark.