Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Conservative Media and Common Core Analysis
I just finished watching a clip sent to me from one of the popular conservative shows about the subject of Common Core. Several thoughts went through my mind and this blog post will address them. First, let me tell you where I am coming from: I know there are major problems with education today. I am a home educator for some of those reasons. Additionally, I decided to take my own education into my own hands several years ago and my focus was not to get training for a job like most colleges offer, but to get a real true blue education, one that Thomas Jefferson, Alexander the Great, Laura Ingalls Wilder and many of our ancestors had. Simply speaking, a liberal arts education. An education in the liberal arts is not the art of becoming a modern liberal, but the study of the arts and sciences of an entire collection of the Great Minds from the Ancient to the Modern. Basically an education from Herodotus to Churchill and then some. These are the ideas that make us free. Liberty means free and comes from the word liberal. Liberal comes from the word liber, which in Latin means the bark of the tree. In ancient times, the great ideas were written on barks of trees to facilitate the spreading of the ideas that opened minds and caused good people to do great things. With that in mind, I express my passion and love for the liberal arts because of the sense of purpose it gives me and the understanding of the ideas that has shaped our world.
Now, about the clip. I watched it and several things I got from it were:
1. It contains dumbed-down standards
2. Less standards to shoot for than in the past (no cursive writing and other things)
3. Our private information is sold to manipulate the system
4. Liberal doctrine and dogma is taught and expected to infiltrate homes
Something that I was surprised with was the chemical reaction that happened to me. I haven't watched this popular TV show host-turned-internet-host for many months now and so I was prepared to quite literally feel my amygdala (fight or flight gland) turn on in my brain. I also felt the blood rush to my arms and legs and out of my center core. It was incredible. I began to remember the biology lessons that have taught me about the miraculous way our body prepares itself to attack a saber-toothed tiger, which is that all blood is distributed away from our core organs and into our appendages in order to give strength to our legs to flee and to our arms to attack. So this was now happening to me and it was incredibly real. It felt like I had taken in a drug.
Upon recognizing this, I began to think back a few years ago at the time I listened to his show everyday and how I kept going back for more as if it was an addiction. Since I have "gotten off" him, I have been able to read thousands of pages of classic works, written 80% of a public school charter, read and studied the Idaho Education Laws, and read and studied the Common Core on my own (see below about what I learned from it). So much have I done that I considered how his show must have been a waste of my time. Now, with the extra time saved from getting off my addiction, a combination of all my studying has enlightened my understanding and given me peace to continue to find my way.
I know that I am going somewhere blunt, plain and harsh…and I hope and feel that you can follow me here to the end. Here is what I am feeling. I feel strongly that these kinds of shows and the chemical reaction effect that they have on many are keeping people from doing things that really can make a difference. However, let me make a clear point that the information they bring to our attention is absolutely important, but the way that they present it and hold people to them like glue is what is mediocre. It might be a tool of the adversary to keep us in the doom and gloom mood and addicted to the issues, rather than doing the better things.
Now, with that said, I feel that a good conservative show is an exciting treat every few months if I can stay away from the addiction. They have their place and have brought about much enlightenment, but I wonder if it can go the wrong direction if they are daily getting into the homes and tempting people to keep coming back for more. I also wonder if our cores will suffer more diseases with less blood nourishing them because it is so often nourishing our arms and legs. We live in good times and bad times, as the opening lines state in Charles Dickens', A Tale of Two Cities. But I feel that we were born at such a time as this to do good and "better" things and affect much change. Getting off our addiction will create more time to do better things and send more blood to our core and brains to feel better and think better. (Understanding more biology will help us too—heeheehee)
So as I stated above, I decided to tackle Common Core document and see for myself this past spring. Studying the CCdoc was quite a fun thing because it gave me a sense of accomplishment and a good direction of how I wanted to think about it, do about it and talk about it. I found:
1. Low standards of the English Grammar
2. Low standards of History
3, Low standards of Math
4. Low standards of Science
5. No curriculum is mentioned. They expect each state to figure out the curriculum that "brings" the students to achieve the standard
6. The standards are measurable and include things like being able to analyze, discuss, find, think, write, understand, apply. Measurable standards mean you can check them off and test people on them.
So, to summarize my list, I found that it was a list of standards that must be met, albeit, a list of standards well below the high standard of learning, even missing some of the important things like cursive writing and so forth, so a mediocre school would only "have to" teach to the standard and not feel they had to go higher or teach other things not on the doc, but a good education would go above and beyond the standards.
Now, in the CC document it does not state "how" anyone "gets" to those standards except that it gives each state the choice on how they are going to get there. In the case of Harmony Educational Services, which is what we are using to provide the super curriculum of Williamsburg Academy and Intermediate for our children, they are allowing the parent to choose how they want their children to satisfy the low standard, but at the same time allowing the individual families go much higher (families have standards of their own that reach the stars, don't they?). CCdoc doesn't care about that…that's okay because I do, so I do something about it.
Pondering the CC document, I came up with four things:
1. It was not complex to read
2. It was basically a list of standards each student ought to be able to do (not able to know--that is curriculum and there is none of that in the CCdoc)
3. There is no curriculum, only standards of ability, curriculum is only the medium to get to those standards and families can choose their curriculum if they use homeschool charters, such as Harmony Ed.
4. Conservatives (of which I am one) might (because of the walls they build up against them) think this: "Liberals are progressive, their ideas are bad for us, so therefore, CC must be bad for us"
5. I couldn't see anything bad in CC except that it requires a very mediocre brain to get to the standards, but that doesn't bother me because I am expecting more for my children and trying to persuade others to take the bull by the horn and not outsource their children's education any longer.
The deepest thing I pondered about was the wall that we build up toward the Liberals (and they might deserve it--). That wall is our prejudgement of their (we see it sometimes as evil) progressive ideas. So anything we hear about them on TV or Internet, especially when we dwell on them every day, we begin to feel fear, hate, emotions and all that comes with those things. We fear for our lives, our freedom and our privacy. We basically live in fear. Then all our blood rushes away from our brains and core organs and into our arms and legs. We lose most of our ability to think rationally and we act on our emotions. This is exactly what I don't want to do any longer and why I read the CCdoc in the first place. I wanted to find out about the "evil" ideas.
I only found one "evil" idea: CCdoc is only expecting a certain standard: mediocrity. It said nothing about the Liberal Dogma. Liberal Dogma mostly comes from curriculum or classroom discussions, if it is important to the teacher. There is no curriculum in the CCdoc (See the 9th and 10th paragraphed section, including the lists). Liberal Dogma comes from being in the particular school systems that promote it and from (beginning with the desires in our heart) outsourcing our children's education.
I deeply learned from "getting off my conservative-media addiction" and from reading and studying the CC document that because I don't put my trust in an educational system, but in God and my personal revelation from Him about how to educate my children, I have no need to fear it. And that trust expands to almost every other "evil" liberal idea. God will win and he is revealing to us daily, individually and collectively the things we ought to do.