Sunday, November 24, 2013

excellent summation on Common Core

Gates Unhinged

Tabitha Korol
Canada Free Press
22 November 2013

"Direct teacher instruction will be replaced by self-directed learning, group-think, with emphasis on subjectivity, feelings, emotions, beliefs, multiculturalism, political correctness, social engineering, globalism, sexual freedom, environmental extremism, victimization, moral relativism, and redistribution of wealth.  The instructor’s role in academic instructions will be reduced to facilitator.  Rather than focus on factual learning, developing foundational skills for logical and analytical reasoning and independent thinking, the students will teach each other, focus on feelings, emotions, opinions, and group-think."

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I always chide people when I hear them complain about having to pay a school tax when they don't have children in school.

You pay a school tax so that you have the privilege of living in an educated society.

Never forget that.

In that same sense, whether you might think the Obama education plan is not a matter about which you should be concerned, if it becomes the law of the land, you need to know what it is, what distinguishes it from traditional teaching, and how it will effect standardized testing (as if standardized—I might better use the word 'bastardized'—testing could encapsulate what it is to be educated—and I use 'educated' with all the irony that can be mustered!

Education is rife with items that have absolutely nothing to do with either wisdom or knowledge.

But we won't go there this time).

And you must also chase down all content about its content!

Because this new directive in education likewise will affect the society in which you live.

The idea behind peer (and/or 'group') instruction has been in place for several years now, at the college level. My college origins date back to the early 1970's, however, I did not complete my degree. In 2003, doing a Return to Campus (RTC) program at a highly-regarded women's college (which shall be unnamed), I stumbled into these student projects and did not quite know what to make of them.

I thought perhaps they were intended to create some sense of a future 'teamwork' necessary for the modern work environment.

Journals were also a portion of the new method of study. I never could quite 'get' what I was supposed to be doing with them. Old school, I kept trying to write short papers on whatever the topic required—perhaps an overview of classical elements within a poem, or a piece of art (this was a course in classical mythology).

The professor had me redo several of the journal entries, but I think she finally gave up on me, and/or accepted what I was attempting to do as the assignment. She floundered at expressing exactly what journaling was supposed to accomplish: we were contemporaries, and I must presume she read the askance in my miscomprehension as an alert to what do you think you are asking?

But I have some misbegotten memory to something about, you know, the personal 'me,' in the midst of (and the purpose opposing) that graver reality that education is, rather, a mastering of the inside and outside of each subject and objective analysis regarding what makes its subject matter tick: the whole package is indelibly and eternally not about my personal reaction to said subject.

(I maintained a 4.0 GPA at that college, in spite of my inability to concede a subjective reaction, and during semesters in which I was inclined to take on two languages (Latin and German), and philosophy classes, as well as higher level English and other such treasures, and all at the same time.

When I transferred to the other university, below, my GPA fell.

Where, for all the similar group projects, and peer reviews, the objective approach to a subject matter as a necessity to be approached with serious study, critical thought and both classroom/sitting under lecture/dialogue and written inquiry with proof remained the rule.)

We did peer review projects at the university to which I transferred after three semesters at the all-women's college (in addition to group projects, one of which resulted in my being warned I was going further, as I presented my portion of the group project, than the assignment asked). In spite of the overall thrust to critical thought and inquiry at the college as a whole, the students were not so much 'there.' I was astounded by the degree to which the junior level paper I 'reviewed' seemed barely on the level of a high school paper. It defended nothing, and merely regurgitated quotes from cited sources (in lieu of argument and proof).

Although, as noted, this university likewise did group projects, it's academic excellence otherwise is of much note: it used a Great Books curriculum as its core, and to much advantage.

Or so I still like to believe.

I keep a journal as a matter of course, and have done so most of my life. My own journals tend to eventually tackle extensive thought on a matter, and sometimes an entry makes its way into my blogs. Although my journaling (and personal correspondence) have helped me develop a very real ease in writing, formal writing is not at all made of the stuff of journal entries. That mine might often tackle matters that can be fit into posts is merely testament to the drive and/or focus of my thoughts.

Being able to compare the two 'types' of study, I find the modern method (group projects, journals based on personal 'feelings' about a topic, even peer review) inferior. How far Common Core will go to reduce the overall intelligence quotient of the nation is not mine to know: I taught my own at home, as I have mentioned elsewhere.

Home-schoolers are already noting, however, the impact of Common Core into their territory.

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