Standards circus: Who’s the clown?

An “ideological circus” is burying the “sensible idea” of common standards in “hysterical claims and fevered accusations,” writes David Brooks. (Beware of mixed metaphors and “descending” circuses.)

“Common Core education standards are being attacked on the right because they are common and on the left because they are core,” according to Brooks. He  sees no legitimate reason to oppose the new standards, which are “clearly superior” to the old ones.

The column amounts to “backseat driving in the clown car,” responds Aaron Barlow in Academe Blog.

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  1. Mark Roulo says:

    Perhaps Brooks could point me to the multi-year trial where Common Core was tried out by a few states. The Common Core FAQ is silent on this. Some of us think that rolling out an untried scheme for the whole country is stupid.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      And for this reason, no one can scientifically say, “the new standards [are] ‘clearly superior’ to the old ones.”

      Someone can say, “they look better than the old ones” or “I think they’ll work better than the old ones” but that is a matter of faith.

      It’s one group’s faith against another. I am so, so, so, so, so sick of it.

      • Better toughen up then Roger because the folks who reflexively embrace centralization of pretty much everything won’t go away.

        That, Mark, is why you won’t see any trial data since it’s really not that important if Common Core’s a brilliant idea or a dud. It’s a matter of political muscle and any idea, observation, fact or individual that isn’t supportive could be an opponent and so are best ignored if at all possible.

      • Well, the standards may be “clearly superior” or they may not. However, as we’ve seen linked to here and at other places, the implementation of the standards is often clearly substandard.

        And the implementations are where the Common Core standards destroy the child.

  2. Stacy in NJ says:

    David Brooks?

    Talking about clowns……

    If only Thomas Friedman wrote on the topic then we’d be all clowned out.

  3. PhillipMarlowe says:

    With a child working for the circus, to compare David Brooks to a clown is an insult to my child’s co-workers.
    And I know they could drink David under the table.

  4. Clowns to the left of me; jokers to the right.

    And I’m getting college students who can’t do fairly simple math.

    • If college students “can’t do fairly simple math”, then current college critical thinking skills tells us that the math is simply unfair. It can’t be anything else.

    • You have my sympathies, Ricki.  I learned (to my sorrow) what was being taught as “college algebra” in community colleges some 10 years ago.  If you couldn’t put it into a calculator to get a numerical answer, it apparently wasn’t “algebra”.  Actual manipulations of symbolic equations, such as might be required to build a formula for a spreadsheet (!!), was beyond its scope.

      I was going beyond that in 7th grade.  I weep for our future.

  5. “Uniformity shall prevail”, huh?
    David Brooks? ‘Nuff said.

    A measure is a binary relation on a set.
    A test is a device or procedure used to establish a measure.
    A standard is a unit of measurement: a kilogram weight, a yardstick, etc.
    Bogus “standards” confer no transformative power. The attempt to compress human variation into a few narrow channels will do (has already done) enormous damage.
    Children are not standard.
    The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, and brutal violations of common sense and common decency.” —- H.L. Mencken