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AMAIRIKUHN EDGYKAYSHUN: MASSACHUSETTS DROPS OUT OF COMMON CORE

Ms. K.M. shared this article, and I have to talk about it, because, well, for one thing, as most regular readers know, I just have to rant occasionally about the sad sickness of Amairikuhn edgykayshun and the progressivist blither that has infected it since it was a twinkle in Dewey's and Thorndike's(...and Chauncey's and Conant's and Counts' and...) eyes. And at the heart of this nonsense has been (1) the shift of teacher education focus from the content of the disciplines they are supposed to teach, to the pedagogical pabulum teachers must endure and "learn" as part of their "credentialization;"  and (2) the standardized test. Granted, perhaps I'm being unfair by saying this is a problem just of Amarikuhn Edgykayshun, for I occasionally hear from teachers in the United Kingdom, Australia, or Canada, whence the USA have exported all this claptrap, which has played well to their own homegrown nitwits and doctors of edubabble. Those teachers assure me it's just as bad "over there" as it is "right here." But let's be honest. All this nonsense was an import from Prussia/Germany during the 19th century to the USA, which, after World War Two, exported it to the rest of the English-speaking world where it was aided and abetted by the aforementioned homegrown nitwits.

The latest brick in the edifice of mediocrity is Common Core, and its rotten core: its "individually adaptive computerized assessment process," which I and my co-author of our upcoming book Rotten to the (Common) Core have pinpointed as being the real heart of the matter. It's that individually adaptive computerized assessment that is designed, we believe, to strike at the heart of education itself; its essential human nature, the nature of having human contact to pass down a tradition rather than a computer passing on mere data(and superficial data at that). It's a blow, ultimately, at both teachers and students, while essentially mediocre minds - one need think only of Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush - are pushing it.

Well, believe it or not, liberal Massachusetts has had enough, and called it quits, and believe it or not, the New York TImes is actually reporting on it:

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S.

But there's cautionary notes in the rejection. Here's the way THe New York TImes puts it:

But no about-face has resonated more than the one in Massachusetts, for years a leader in education reform. This state embraced uniform standards and tests with consequences more than two decades before the Common Core, and by 2005, its children led all states in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the nation’s report card, and rose above all other countries, save Singapore, in science.

The state’s participation was seen as validation of the Common Core and the multistate test; Dr. Chester became the chairman of the board that oversees the test Massachusetts joined. The state’s rejection of that test sounded the bell on common assessments, signaling that the future will now look much like the past — with more tests, but almost no ability to compare the difference between one state and another.

“It’s hugely symbolic because Massachusetts is widely seen as kind of the gold standard in successful education reform,” said Morgan Polikoff, an assistant professor of education at the University of Southern California, who is leading an evaluation of the national tests. “It opens the door for a lot of other states that are under a lot of pressure to repeal Common Core. Getting rid of these tests is a nice bone to throw.”

The fight in Massachusetts has been dizzying, with a strange alliance between the teachers’ union and a conservative think tank that years before had been a chief proponent of the state’s earlier drive for standards and high-stakes tests. As in other states, conservatives complained of federal overreach into local schooling, while the union objected to tying the tests to teacher evaluations. The debate drew money from national political players like the billionaire David Koch and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Amid the noise, many parents had trouble understanding what the Common Core was, or argued that the nation’s public schoolchildren took too many tests. So while parents and students here did not opt out of testing in the waves they did in places like New York and New Jersey, they also did not express much support.

Massachusetts, in other words, is still sitting on the fence vis-a-vis standardized tests, and until this hydra-like beast, this Medusa of Method, which squats in the middle of the system, is confronted and overturned once and for all, the problem will remain.

Let us be clear what the standardized test is: it is a (1) sorting and slotting mechanism that (2) actually ends up punishing rather than rewarding the more brilliant minded-student, for it does not allow a student to express his or her process of reasoning to an adult, competent in the discipline being handed down, to evaluate and critique, and help the student to adjust(if necessary), or to expand upon. And whether we like it or not, this means that education, in the final analysis, is not about objective science. It is, if I may put it this way, a craft, it is a profession, to be sure, demanding exacting standards, but those exacting standards are not just of a dsicipline, but of humanity, and no computer, no algorithm, no hidden and anonymous panel of "experts" compiling tests for the "testing 'industry'", is ever going to replace this fundamental and essential fact of education, for it is a most human activity, perhaps the most human besides procreation itself, for it is, like procreation, the handing down of life, and of all that humanity has accomplished in it.

Shame on the Conants, the Chaunceys, the billionaire busy-bodies and the bland, mind-numbed political mediocrities, for ever assuming a computerized test, a standardized test, could ever be designed to encapsulate these subtletties.

Put country simple: it's time to rethink everything in Amairkuhn education, from the fifty-minute bells and whistles class session, to the idea of "more time in school", longer terms, longer days, more tests, more doctors of education, more methodology classes, more certification. It's time for all those things to go the way of the dodo bird, along with their failed theories and methods. And it's high time to support those good teachers who have endured this system. It's time to say NO to all the foundations pushing their agendas, no to common core assessment, no to standardized tests and text books that contain no primary texts, no to the whole panoply of gatekeeper organizations.

See you on the flip side...

15 thoughts on “AMAIRIKUHN EDGYKAYSHUN: MASSACHUSETTS DROPS OUT OF COMMON CORE”

  1. If you examine the field of Physics today you see that it has totally forgotten about its roots in mechanics and kinematics and wandered off into esoteric theories which are constantly revised and fudged to fit the data. Those errors in the equations will never be discovered by anyone outside the black projects world because they aren’t looking for them. They prefer instead to fill the blackboard with fudged volumes of mathematical equations ever revising their “theories” to fit the measured data and inventing virtual particles to account for things they have no answer for rather than looking for errors made by the “great” minds in the field. These great minds are put on a godlike pedestal and their errors have now become dogma which cannot possibly be wrong even though we have been told by Ben Rich that they are.
    Apply this same reasoning to any other field of education, science, art, literature, etc. and you end up chasing ghosts in the machine and ignoring reality.
    Our children are going to pay a very heavy price for all of this nonsense. There will always be some who are smarter or more technically savvy and creative than others. To drag them down to the least common denominator of the rest of their peers is counter-productive and a formula for disaster.

  2. I’d like to make my own high-octane speculation on our current education system: It is set up to benefit an AI…

    Consider how an AI learns. Or at least advanced computers, like the “Jeopardy” contestant. Raw data is fed in, and the computer crunches it to develop connections. But, it cannot be truly-raw data. That would be too vague and ‘infinite’ for our current technological-level. Instead, humans make a first pass and semi-organize it. Sift it down to usable levels.

    Now, does this seem like the purpose of a standardized test? Eliminate the off-the-wall answers, but keep enough ‘variety’ to be machine-useful? That way, over the course of years of testing, any student’s preferences and methodology can be worked-out. You could probably predict their actions with a 80-90% certainty. Useful.

    With an “individually adaptive computerized assessment,” there can even be feedback to ‘mold’ the student. All from a privatized system. No problem there.

    With enough ‘data’ from enough students, one could even form a statistically-valid ‘sense’ of humanity. How much panic is needed to move the herd? What will the herd put up with? What is the herd’s
    ‘threshold of action’? Useful things…

    Neglected by this “high-octane speculation” is who-or-what is ‘profiting’ by this system. Is it a ‘tame’ AI controlled by the usual suspects? Is it an ‘untame’ but homebuilt escaped-AI (manipulating the system)? Or, have we come into the orbit (grin) of an ancient AI, looking for a new race to coddle or dominate?

  3. Robert Barricklow

    From my perspective the problem has ben, is, and will be power. As most who have a few gray cells know: power corrupts. The young may not be aware of it’s deadly intrigues or corrupting young, trusting minds. Indeed, many of the older generations may not their true identities in the scheme of things. This is because memory has been purposely targeted. Those with memories of how it was, are replaced by a younger generation having to teach how it will now be.

    A leader who is assassinated for his views, is buried along with his vital social teachings. Those who still remember and speak those truths are rounded up and silenced. Before you know it, the sands of time bury those living memories like sands covering a colossal Egyptian Sphinx.

    The struggle of man against power
    is the struggle of memory against…
    forgetting.

    Teaching has been built upon giants of the past;
    each, a stepping stone, from darkness into light.

    At least, we still have a few memories of those giants who have come before. Yet, I’m afraid “our” struggle against forgetting hasn’t been as memorable, as it should be.
    Our education is still ongoing;
    looking for those buried treasure known to our fathers,
    but lost in the sands of memories forgotten.

  4. I harken back to what I was taught in school, and the information passed down by teachers. Then you have books to read and study, this is mandatory and it should be. BUT, consider all that you were taught, and then re-assess that information to what you do today, in other words, what do you use “today” that you learnt in school. As the world changes, so should education to “match” those changes so that the student progresses to a stage of “modern today”. If somebody is trying to bring up kids to be dummies, you have to ask yourself WHY, all’s you’ll end up with is 20 year olds with a computer and a smart phone, OMG, what did I just say !!!!!!!!!!

  5. I am evermore grateful I was homeschooled, but I feel sorrow for the poor children unwittingly being turned into drones.

  6. A recently declassified CIA pamphlet from circa 1948 details effective methods to “gum up the works” of bureaucracies as a means to undermine and destabilize targeted organizations or nations.

    The principles and practical guidelines it enumerates make it obviouse that it has been assiduously applied to most bureaucracies of the USG itself for at least a generation, notably OSHA, HHS, the Dept. of Education and the EPA (giving yet more validity to the contention that the USSA is being taken down intentionally from within).

    Common Core is just the third-generation fruit of this insidious little tract.

    1. basta,
      i saw that in progressive circles on the alternet a few years ago. the declassification is not recent. wondering why i’m seeing this around from several alternet sources again today? now?

      1. Hi zdb,

        ZeroHedge had posted about it last week, referencing a post on the CIA’s own website. Apparently, the CIA’s post was a bit of rummaging through the archives/pat on the back, and remarked on the pamphlet’s enduring relevance.

  7. I’ve spent the past couple of years evaluating the Open Source Ecology Movement. It is the brain child of Marcin Jakubowski PhD. I took an initial interest after his CAF Solari interview and waited two years to see if he could deliver on his GVCS (Global Village Construction Set) model. He has made a lot of progress.

    But, the most interesting thing OSE has on the drawing board is an Open Source University. Where like in ancient times, theory and practical application will be re-united on one campus and offered on line. All the course work will be Free to all. Critical thinking will be required and community participation will be a must. For there will be a lot to do. The real attraction is if theory does not match fact, that theory will be modified to reflect real world properties, methods and functions. Hence, the downfall of Science as a religion. Who knows? You might see the full works of Tesla and Maxwell to name a few Apocryphal geniuses..

    IMHO, this is the next logical step (lighting another candle) in the Fittsian “Voting with Your Money” solution. Goal being to bring back small mfg /ag /research locally and integrate it into a distributed, sustainable model via the growing OSE, Open Source Hardware and Maker movements. Take your pick.

    But make no mistake, we must free ourselves from the TapeWorm that enslaves us across the socio-economic spectrum now. Edumacation,(for true Cher) is a big link in that chain.

    1. I don’t believe we can fix our education system. Dismantle and start over. Bureaucrats, corporations, billionaires and the ever present dark side are too entrenched.
      S. Korea just last month had protests over the publishers and government changing their history books.
      “Critics of the government today fear that the new history textbook will have a similar, sanitised view of the past”.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34960878

  8. Yep first they came for the bookstores second they sent the prices of paperbacks through the roof. Third they got rid of hard copy comic books, newspapers-magazines. Fourth there shutting down brick and mortar stores that sell things to the general public. The first victims of these trends were native people who were conquered and their children sent by force to reeducation camps called schools along with the same thing done to immigrants to the USA from around the World. Full spectrum control is and has always been the meme from colonial times.

  9. I whole heartily agree with you Dr. Common core is meant for an even deeper brainwashing , get rid of it! The kids and the teachers deserve better! The older I get the more I realize this world is a world of deception, and common core is The latest fraud perpetrated on society, no good will come of it, plus whenever I hear billionaires like Bill Gates donating too it alarm bells start going off in my head

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