"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

David Coleman and Jeb Bush Don't "Give a Shit" about Your Child's Feelings, Thoughts, or Self-Esteem

In 2011, the über-prissy Architekt of the Common Core Standards, David Coleman, had this to say at a State gathering in New York, where Coleman explained why teenagers' written reactions to Cather in the Rye were about to be discontinued in favor of explicating Samsung installation manuals (my bolds):
Do people know the two most popular forms of writing in the American high school today?  Texting, someone said, but I don't think that's for credit though yet.  But I would say that as someone said, it is personal writing.  It is either the exposition of a personal opinion or it the presentation of a personal matter.  The only problem, forgive me for saying this so bluntly, the only problem with those two forms of writing is as you grow up in this world you realize people really don't give a shit about what you feel or what you think.
Now for teenagers about to take on the mantle of continuing the democratic republic we have been accustomed to, they may find David's cynical, jaded, and dismissive words a bit discouraging in some way, don't you think?  Especially as it is exactly what high schoolers feel and think that will determine the future course of what was once the most influential democracy on planet Earth.  That was April 2011.

Here is the poster boy for anger mismanagement, Jeb Bush, last week, carrying the message forward in Miami following a visit to Asia, where people under repressive regimes once looked to people like Bush for some sense of political hope.  Now what they get is admiration from him for the grinding, corrupt economic dictatorships they must suffer under:

Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem.  They care about math, whether they can read – in English – whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful.
In short, it is not self-esteem that the Asian systems care about--it is the financial esteem of the fascist dictators that keep hundreds of millions of workers living under the boot heel of regimes best described as capitalist-corruption-gone-wild.

These two statements make great bookends for the end of the beginning of freshly-unpacked Common Core, and the beginning of the end for the rotted mess that we now know to be a poor corporate education design by a handful of self-serving elites with a deep hostility to democratic principles and practices.  

I end this post with a section of a letter written by 132 Catholic educators last Fall to denounce the Common Core. 
Promoters of Common Core say that it is designed to make America’s children “college and career ready.” We instead judge Common Core to be a recipe for standardized workforce preparation. Common Core shortchanges the central goals of all sound education and surely those of Catholic education: to grow in the virtues necessary to know, love, and serve the Lord, to mature into a responsible, flourishing adult, and to contribute as a citizen to the process of responsible democratic self-government.
Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education. The heart of its philosophy is, as far as we can see, that it is a waste of resources to “over-educate” people. The basic goal of K-12 schools is to provide everyone with a modest skill set; after that, people can specialize in college – if they end up there. Truck-drivers do not need to know Huck Finn. Physicians have no use for the humanities. Only those destined to major in literature need to worry about Ulysses.
Perhaps a truck-driver needs no acquaintance with Paradise Lost to do his or her day’s work. But everyone is better off knowing Shakespeare and Euclidean geometry, and everyone is capable of it. Everyone bears the responsibility of growing in wisdom and grace and in deliberating with fellow-citizens about how we should all live together. A sound education helps each of us to do so.

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