This is in response to an article posted by Diane Ravitch on her blog site by Mercedes Schneider that reviews an article by Richard Phelps.
I read the article and find the complexities exposed by it to be fascinating, as it portrays an organization I have opposed from the moment I discovered its existence by looking into who Checker Finn might be and finding him on a Hoover Institute site where he constantly published articles concerning fear of the professionalization of teachers, this from an authoritarian fool, as I found him to be, who wanted education to be by authoritarians and for the purpose of insuring that neither teachers or their students would have the rights and sensibilities to properly challenge his authority or those who were his friends, for example, members of the Bush administration who were trying every which way to keep the American public from knowing what it was doing or why (torturing people, for example) such as Cheney and Rumsfeld.
At the time I despised Diane Ravitch, with good reason, I still think, because of the way she bolstered their cause by signing onto the team. I am still somewhat cautious in trusting Dr. Ravitch for her’s was not but an affiliation with the wrong people but people she of whom she had to know their motives, motives that were absolutely disgusting and who actions were so incredibly ugly as to cause me to think that the United States was beyond redemption. That said, I have been on the wrong side of the Common Core debate according to this article. The whole of the argument against the CCSS is based upon who is affiliated with the Core and, as is often the case in debates regarding the Core, with no reference to what the Core documents say, what they call for or why it is that they are being condemned as bad goals for students of a democratic society. I have sent many people specific Core examples and asked them to tell me what it is that is wrong with them and I, truthfully, have not had a single response to my request for explanation. i have tried to determine what it is about the Core that has so rattled people–amongst them teachers and teachers organizations and some scholars like Diane Ravitch and, too, off to the right conservative groups and individuals. What I have come to believe is that this is nothing of an alliance.
Of course it is not. The conservatives, a good number of them of the religious right, do not want schools to cause students to think for themselves and possibly, probably with a good education, come to challenge the ridiculous and impossible “truths” they are taught by their parents and their preachers. As for the teachers and their associations, I think the problem with the CCSS is that, considering what they know and the ways they have been TRAINED to teach, the Core is an existential threat because it focuses so much on the development of thinking abilities when most who have been in education for any amount of time are ready only to teach a static content that an educator does not have to think much about to teach. It is teaching of a kind that allows for some success in classrooms far to large to allow for real and meaningful conversation between thinking people and, while some teachers complain about this situation, some only because of the work load it places upon them, it makes absolutely impossible the kind of interaction between people that powers the development of critical thinking ability.
The school curriculum that most teachers teach IS an authoritarian one and it does far too little to help individuals find the power of their individual minds, a mindfulness if allowed for, or, god forbid, encouraged would make it necessary for teachers to be responsive educators rather than conduits for the predigested garbage that is the stuff of most textbooks. I ask here to have my analysis challenged because that would begin a needed conversation concerning the nature of education as it now, as it would be if a common core curriculum was to be implemented to serve the goals stated in the CCSS and as it might be if the real focus of those involved in the educational decision making process focused first on what was best for students and, by doing so created a means for evaluating both students and teachers based on criteria other than easy to teach and easy to assess.