Christie Uses His Common Sense About Common Core – Finally

Butler Decker ES Gr 3Peq Gerace ES Gr 4

In the greatest turnaround in the state’s history, New Jersey’s Gov. Christie announced Saturday that he is going to try to extricate his state from the Common Core initiative.

This from the governor who served as the president of the National Board of Governors which implemented a mandatory state requirement to sign on to Common Core if a state accepted federal aid for education (New Jersey absolutely signed on the dotted line).

But a friend has insisted that if the governor has seen the error of the Common Core way, we should not admonish him or remind him of his sordid past:

Maybe he realized the error of his ways after hearing enough complaints from educational organizations, teachers, parents, and even students, criticizing the Common Core methods, specifically the difficult and confusing testing that accompanies the Common Core curriculum.

Common Core proponents brayed about the difficulty of the tests and the high standards which they upheld.  The Math tests, whether for NJASK (New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge) or the new, computer-oriented PARCC (the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career), required students to “show their work,” rather than simply solve the problem; in order to “make sure the students understand the process.”

Showing their work meant that students had to take longer to answer each question and thus, answering fewer questions and getting lower scores.  This method probably explains why math scores plummeted 19.1 percent in towns like Pequannock Township, an affluent, largely upper middle class community.

Pequannock just fired its band director (with probable – justified – cause; although the reason for the termination was never made public, which is just fine with the citizens of Pequannock Township).  They hired a new, young band director fresh out of college.  But he’s only working part-time.  So is the high school’s vocal music teacher.

The high school still has a music program.  But it is now under block scheduling.  That means, as I understand it, that the students must request it and can only take either band or chorus; not both.  The middle school’s music program is said to be on the chopping block as is the music in the elementary schools.

Pequannock High School just built a brand new, very expensive library.  Who can argue with building a library?  If the lower school bands have to take a hit, I guess they can live with it.  The outstanding feature of this library is not books but computers.  I was in a primary school just last night that has rows and rows of new computers.  But that meant dispensing with library shelves where the computer terminals now sit – and many of the lower library shelves are empty.

No music.  No books.  Teaching to tests instead of to subjects.  What is education coming to?

Common Core can be summed up in three words; a phrase I learned from a local school district superintendent:  Narrowing the Achievement Gap.  The progressive goal is to lower the achievement gap between high- and low-performing students.  Since you can’t raise a sinking boat, you sink the one that’s floating.

Specifically, the Progressive Socialists are targeting the much-hated Middle Class.  What they’ve done to the middle class economy, they have also done to middle class education:  they’ve caused it to plummet:

On the left is the chart for Butler’s (N.J.) third graders:  the blue line represents the students who passed the NJASK’s Language Arts & Literacy test; the red line represents those who failed.  It’s the perfect illustration of Narrowing the Achievement Gap.

On the right, is the chart for Pequannock Township’s 4th graders in the Stephen J. Gerace Elementary School.  The students started out with a higher standard than those in Butler, but still experienced a gradual decline – not the dramatic, 30-something percent drop from 2008 to 2009 in Butler; however, given the affluence of the Pequannock School District, a 17.5 percent decline in scores should concern the parents.  In 2012, the Gerace Elementary School experienced a 25 percent one-year drop in 4th grade math scores; overall, the school district managed to maintain a decent standard in math.

Parents, teachers and students should not breathe a sigh of relief just yet.  Christie is ready to toss out the federally-mandated tests; the Common Core curriculum, however (highly influenced by devotees of William Ayers), will remain.  Christie promises to tailor them to the “special needs” of New Jersey.

That means the curriculum will still de-emphasize Western literature, replacing Charles Dickens with policy-wonk tomes on climate change and social justice.  Students will still be subject to experimental exercises raising white students’ awareness of their lack of ethnic awareness and the evils of their “privileged” existences.  They’ll still be taught math the hard way, and most will be steered away from college educations.

College educations will be reserved for the elite classes.  Even Pequannock Township stopped offering Latin classes a few years ago.  Latin is the foundation (along with Greek) of the English language, not to mention the Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, French).  Without Latin, middle class students cannot hope to enter law school and without a legal education have little hope of serving in higher office beyond the local and perhaps state level.  Maybe the U.S. House of Representatives.  But certainly not the Senate or the Supreme Court.

They will also have a hard time becoming doctors without the necessary training in the classical languages.  In short, middle class students will be barred from the higher professions.  Their only hope is the business world, and our Marxist-in-Chief and his allies are determined that Capitalism will be demolished in favor of state-run industries.

That’s the way it is in China; you don’t have to be a member of the Communist Party.  But without that membership, the ambitious don’t stand a chance.  China, even now, is considering putting it in writing.

Newspapers, with their own Marxist agenda, may see a Capitalist agenda in students seeking higher education.  Businesses, however, are very particular about their employees having college degrees; preferably in business. Those who don’t have the education may find the company willing to finance your degree.   If someone wants to climb the corporate ladder, an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) is absolutely de rigeur.  The ladder-climber also must be willing to relocate.

That only makes sense, after all.  My former company expected it of management wannabees.  After all, how could they aspire to executive positions, if they spent their entire career in one region of the country?  International companies have similar expectations.  If you work for an oil company, you have to plan on, at some point, not only working in the oil fields but also donning your body armor to do business in the Middle East (South America is no better; many execs have been kidnapped south of the equator).

Common Core is not a new concept.  Such ideas go all the way back in history to the turn of the 20th Century and John Dewey.  Henry Wallace, our 33rd Vice President under Harry Truman, and the presidential nominee of the Progressive Party in 1948.

In a 1942 speech, Wallace declared the Twentieth Century the “Century of the Common Man.”

“The prophets of the Old Testament were the first to preach social justice. But that which was sensed by the prophets many centuries before Christ was not given complete and powerful political expression until our nation was formed as a Federal Union a century and a half ago. Even then, the march of the common people had just begun. Most of them did not yet know how to read and write. There were no public schools to which all children could go. Men and women cannot be really free until they have plenty to eat, and time and ability to read and think and talk things over. Down the years, the people of the United States have moved steadily forward in the practice of democracy. Through universal education, they now can read and write and form opinions of their own. They have learned, and are still learning, the art of production — that is, how to make a living. They have learned, and are still learning, the art of self-government.

“Everywhere, reading and writing are accompanied by industrial progress sooner or later inevitably brings a strong labor movement. From a long-time and fundamental point of view, there are no backward peoples which are lacking in mechanical sense. Russians, Chinese, and the Indians both of India and the Americas all learn to read and write and operate machines just as well as your children and my children. Everywhere the common people are on the march. Thousands of them are learning to read and write, learning to think together, learning to use tools. These people are learning to think and work together in labor movements, some of which may be extreme or impractical at first, but which eventually will settle down to serve effectively the interests of the common man.”

The collective has replaced the individual.  Our children are being trained to be cogs in a machine, whose levers will be pulled by a platonic elite.  In ancient times, reading and writing were considered by philosopher kings to be the menial labor of slaves and scribes, much as executives in the 20th Century dictated letters to their secretaries, who then transcribed the letters and mailed them.  Philosophers needed to be free to think great thoughts.

Now, anyone can think great thoughts and publish them on the Internet.  Just in the past year or so, it has become more difficult for unconnected authors to self-publish.  Like the days of not too long ago, vanity publishers have arisen to electronically publish the works of unknown authors for extravagant fees.

The next generation will have nothing to write about, though.  Progressives have declared this period “the end of history.”  From this point on, elite overseers will determine what our children will learn, think, and do.

Don’t let them fool you about “narrowing the achievement gap,” either.  The scores of certain inner city schools in Paterson are absolutely abominable.  In one school, only 13 percent of either the 4th  or 5th graders passed the Language Arts and Literacy portion of the NJASK test.

The intention of Common Core is to even the score by lowering the scores of the middle class students, both internally and externally.  Common Core opponents have done a stellar job in New Jersey in raising Common Core awareness.

You’ve nearly succeeded in eliminating the tests.  Now you need to eliminate the curriculum and return a curriculum that will make our students ready for whatever career they choose, not some policy wonk with a Progressive agenda.

Christie & Obama

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Published in: on June 1, 2015 at 8:48 am  Leave a Comment  

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