Lies, damned lies and the Common Core

Those politically biased (and silly) “Common Core” lessons you keep hearing about have nothing to do with the Common Core standards, writes Fordham’s Mike Petrilli in Lies, damned lies, and the Common Core.

EAG News published Common Core math question for sixth graders: Was the 2000 election ‘fair’?

Would you ever consider the question ‘Whom do you want to be president?’ to be asked of your third grader during a math class (or any class)?

. . . Or, how about a discussion on whether the 2000 presidential election resulted in a “fair” outcome? Or, what if the teacher for your sixth grader was advised to “be prepared” to discuss the “politically charged” 2000 election – all during math.

Common Core aligned, of course.

The Daily Caller’s Eric Owens complained: Common Core MATH lesson plans attack Reagan, list Lincoln’s religion as ‘liberal.’

Common Core lesson lists Abraham Lincoln as a liberal, reported Fox News.

The lesson about the 2000 election, posted on a math teachers’ web site, was copyrighted in 2008, two years before Common Core standards were written, writes Petrilli. A lesson declaring “Lincoln was a liberal” was copyrighted in 2009.  A site that listed Lincoln’s religion as “liberal” has nothing to do with Common Core.

Common Core produced standards, not lessons. Everybody and his dog is claiming their lessons and learning materials are “aligned” to the new standards. That doesn’t mean they are.

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  1. It would behoove the Common Core to enforce their standards. I’m pretty sure Petrilli and others would not object to publishers reusing lessons from even the 1960s which align with their vision of what the Common Core ought to be.

    At present, it’s being used by publishers to sell entire sets of new textbooks (with old cr*p) to districts. The Common Core consortium knows this. If they don’t bestir themselves to ensure the “Common Core” means something, it will mean nothing.

    It will mean lowest-common-denominator curriculum, because the cheapest curriculum, produced by low-wage staff, represents the greatest profit for publishers.

    No matter what sort of shining exemplar for all time the Common Core believers think their standards represent, the label “Common Core” is being co-opted. All these ridiculous lessons are a consequence of this co-option. Theory is not practice. The critics are right to point to the Common Core’s form in practice.

  2. Miller Smith says:

    A “standard” if you can call it one for Algebra was, “student should be familiar with the Law of Very Large Numbers.” Now that Law is very important but it has so many ins and outs that one could wonder what does “familiar” mean?

    Common Core doesn’t really have any “standards” written in it…which makes it less than useless. As a chemistry teacher I can’t find a “standard” that must be met or anything specific that is a minimum that must be taught on any subject in chemistry.

    What was the point of Common Core if not standards?

    • Well, it depends on the group –
      Reformers got caught up in sweeping philosophical ideals and forgot the day-to-day business of education.
      Politicians saw this as a way to boost their credentials…and I’m convinced this is why so many, like NY Gov Cuomo, are behaving like spurned lovers right now.
      Businesses are in it for the money.

  3. I was part of the “new math” generation. The crap was actually taught (Venn diagrams forever) bore little resemblance to what was initially conceived. I blame both the conceivers and the teachers.

  4. This seems a lot like what the professor in the link below feared would happen after Modern Novelist questioned the value of teaching grammar, misuse of the idea by weaker teachers. It is an excellent takedown from 1921 in the educated manner that is rare these days.

    “My Dear modern Novelist:
    You have recently given pleasure to the public by picturing what you would do if you were a teacher of English. Your sketch is racy, persuasive and true to life.

    Yet your patent truthfulness will be misunderstood in the strangest way–a way which a novelist, unaccustomed to the perverting power of literal minds, would never suspect. Some thousands of teachers and superintendents and pedagogical experts will apply your merriment to the whole body of actual teachers in actual schools; they will pass on to one another the glad message that M. N. advises all teachers to discard grammar in all schools.”

  5. Miller Smith – Does the standard actually say “Law of Very Large Numbers”? How does this differ from the “Law of Large Numbers”, I wonder?