Today I have to rant once again.
There's a quietly growing storm brewing, and it's over the latest edubabbling methodological nonsense promoted by the federal government, and the Amairikuhn edgykayshunnal edubabble establishment's latest methodological gimmick: the so-called common core curriculum. Now, I am not (thankfully!) any longer having to suffer trying to teach in a system where a "teaching certification" counts for more than mastery of an actual discipline like history or literature or mathematics. Thus, what I have heard about the coming common core horror has been largely from friends and associates who work in the increasingly failing system(and if you think my words in this blog are harsh, you ought to hear what I hear some teachers saying!). The basic idea, so I am told, is that tests, through the use of computers, will be tailored to the individual student, such that the answer given in a multiple choice question of pre-selected "approved answers" will determine the next question and its level of difficulty, and so on. In such a system, the inevitable result will be further reduction of the teacher to be a mere functionary or adjunct of the machine, preparing students not with knowledge and genuine thinking abilities, but to take more and more standardized computerized tests to display knowledge of "approved techniques and approved answers".
The result will be inevitably more of what we have already: teaching to prepare students for standardized computerized tests, which in turn are prepared and administered by a small group of large corporations. The result will be further deterioration and declining academic standards, when America's performance on the international scene is already cause for concern. If there's any doubt, consider the following article, which shows rather well what the pabulum-puking nonsense that Amairkuhn edgykayshun has become:
The problem here is contained in this passage:
"The teacher wanted the student to solve “530 – 270 = ?” in the following manner: First, add 30 to both numbers, changing the problem to “560 – 300 = ?”. These numbers are the “friendly” numbers, because they are supposedly easier to work with.
"The student, however, simply subtracted 270 from 530 the good old-fashioned way, arriving at the same answer. Unfortunately, this is not a Common Core-approved technique."(emphasis added)
That is what the game is really about: approved techniques, approved thoughts, and that is not education in any meaningful sense, and it again emphasizes the collectivist nature of Amairikuhn egykayshun. This blithering nonsense about "friendly numbers" makes one wonder how Sir Isaac Newton, or Rene Descartes, or Gottfried Leibnitz, or Riemann or Cantor or Einstein...well, just about anyone who ever had to use math in their profession ... ever survived without the modern Amairikuhn Doctors of Education and their kooky focus on even kookier "methodology".
How did we ever function without "friendly numbers" and the "common core"?
And that, really, is the problem. We functioned much better before "education" became the pseudo-discipline that it is today; we functioned much better before teacher certification with its endless focus on psycho-babble and "methodologies" consumed most of the college class time of future teachers. We functioned much better without the corrupting theories of Wilhelm Wundt, John Dewey, and Horace Mann, and all the pseudo-doctors of pseudo-education after them.
The real goal here is more thought control, more conformity, and an even dumber culture than the current American population already is, traveling down the street in its muscle cars, booming its (c)rap music on subwoofers able to shake whole neighborhoods and imposing its complete lack of taste (and courtesy) on everyone else, racing home to watch the latest reality TV. In such a "culture" there can be no critical thought, no in depth understanding of the arts, the sciences, history, or anything else, and there can be no hierarchy of values. In such a "culture" the correct answers to "Who killed John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy, or Dr. Martin Luther King" will always be what the official consensus dictates: Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, and James Earl Ray. It will become a culture even more self-reinforcing gum-chewing, back-slapping "average Joe" propaganda we have been fed to believe about ourselves: Who won World War Two? America did. Who won World War One? Why, we did, of course. No one else made much of a contribution. And in reaction to it, there will be an increase, of course, of home schooling and even more people that will be taught that the earth is about 4,500 years old, and that, within that time period, dinosaurs lived concurrently with humans.
There will, of course, not be any real study of the arts - literature, music, art - because those things, if genuinely studied, lead to independent and critical thinking. Creative literary skills will only be taught in the sense of filing things, no more Cervantes, no more Goethe, no more Shakespeare; one will be told what to think about pieces of music(one of my favorites being, Beethoven initially dedicated his third symphony to Napoleon, but scratched out the dedication because he disagreed with him.) Bland, inconsequential. Blither. No effort will me made to see how he crafted the piece, because that would lead to the ability to recognize patterns and their permutations, and we can't have that, because it would lead to dot-connecting and independent thinking. Art? forget it! literature? forget it! Mathematics? Euclid's elements are "unfriendly." The quadratic formula is "morose." This matrix is "happy," and that one is "sad." Darwin is depressing. Mendel is melancholy. Getting the correct answer isn't important, unless you use "friendly numbers" and feel good about yourself afterward.
America's flower-strewn march to third world status continues, folks, and the loony lemmings, the Doctors of Edubabble are leading the parade for corporate crapitalism, the big foundations, and a bought-and-paid for Congress and White House. In my fantasies, I dream of a day when the American sheeple wake up, fire anyone in their local or state educational establishments with "Ed.D." after their name, abolish teacher certification, and imprison the boards of the corporations that sell and administer standardized computer tests for criminal insanity, and, as part of their "job-re-training," send the out-of-work Ed.D;s to China or Russia, to inflict their methodological preoccupations on those countries. Trouble is, I rather suspect Beijing and Moscow would see it as a transparent plan to ruin their countries. I dream of a day when teachers are allowed to teach again, and to maintain discipline in their classes. I dream of a time when teachers are required to spend all of their college class time learning the subject they want to teach.
But then I wake up, and remember, this is "Amairikuh," and that we are "the indispensable people" and the "exceptional nation."
Yea.... right. You just keep telling yourselves that in Congress, in the White House, on Wall Street, in the "colleges of 'education'." In three generations, you won't even be able to spell it, much less read the strange hieroglyphs on your teleprompters or teachers' certificates.
See you on the flip side.