Sunday, April 27, 2014


This morning on Steve Kornacki’s show, UP as aired on MSNBC, Rob Astorino made the most obvious attempt I have ever heard to distort the meaning and purpose of Common Core for political reasons. By echoing all the rhetoric used by the Tea Party to generated hate for Affordable Health Care, he is attempting to create hate for Common Core. Just to show how low-level his reasoning was, he explained that he could not solve the homework math problems his 5th grade daughter brought home: if he could not solve the problems, he “sincerely believed”  his daughter should not be challenged with “such hard problems”. I wonder if she was studying history and leaned something, he didn’t know, she should not know it; talk about race to the bottom.

Common Core is an educational program, initiated and designed by the National Governor’s Association, to improve education. The educational system in this country is broken. Secretary of Education Ernie Duncan and President Obama endorse Common Core and promote it; therefore, it is just a case of another “Federal Government” overreach, it is socialism or communism, or just plain evil. This morning, Astorino was digging as deeply as he could to find something wrong with it. His talking points are shallow and pointless; they are those the Republican Party is now developing. By the way, he is candidate for Governor in New York.

All of this smacks of the recent health care debate; no one in the United States, even in the world, could understand why we had such poor distribution of health care. It was because we have a free enterprise system for everything; it was tired in health care and did not work. A congressional committee designed, publically debated, and passed into law legislation to take care of the problem. The result was an amalgamation of free enterprise insurance with a government mandate; that is government encouraged with monetary support for the poor. This morning, if the listeners substitute ‘education’ for ‘health care’, the Astorino political argument was an echo of the last four years. The message, conservatives hate Federal overreach in education and in Health care.

Of course, they have a plan of their own that is much better. I will guarantee you that no one will ever see that plan because it does not exist. It is not the plan they hate, it is the idea that Common Core, once again, proves we need a strong Federal Government in well-ordered modern society. Think of foreign relations, trust busting, Keynesian economics, and interstate commerce in general, and think of old age poverty, think of Federal Lands, think of health care, and now think of education. Contrast this with Rand Paul politics; people who want to live like hermits in downtown New York; these conservative views make no sense.

I belong to a discussion group on +Google education Revolution. For the most part the participants in the group are young enthusiastic teachers; the people who are most affected by the implementation of Common Core; of course, the students will eventually be the most affected by the program, but that will take time. There is unrest in this group that I find interesting. This morning I read the posts and found the following:

+Pauline Hawkins:
My resignation letter brought many like-minded people into my life. Ann Snuggs shared her story with me, and I asked her to share her story with my readers.

Teacher Hawkins resigned because of wages; she could not live on what she was being paid. She included some criticism about Common Core in her letter, which was what attracted the attention as is made abundantly clear in the letter from Ann Snuggs. I was one of those who encouraged Pauline Hawkins to give wider distribution to her letter. Almost everything in that letter needs to be debated, but first it has to be understood.  

That is where politico Rob Astorino reinters picture. He attacked testing “mandated’ by the program; teachers Hawkins and Snuggs did as well. Of course, the teachers comments were much more significant but his characterization was more blunt; hence, revealing of their misunderstanding. He said, “Common Core requires teachers to teach tests”; it does not. It requires testing, which is a world of difference.

It is common debate strategy to misstate the premise being debated and then attack the misstatement. What testing is and every teacher knows this, is to evaluate how well the students mastered what a teacher taught. Every teacher knows that every student is different and that the teacher and educational administrator have to consider that in evaluating test scores. Teachers also know that every class has a personality, collective history, and standard of conduct. They cannot expect that a class (collectively) that has not been exposed to the Common Core will perform as well as if they have had that experience. What every teacher also knows is that testing reveals how good he or she is at their jobs.

What a teacher fears is that the educational administrator will not appreciate the difficulties inherent in teaching. Therefore, they distort the purpose of testing: they teach so the average score will be high, meaning the administrator will think they did a good job of teaching; the individual student is lost in the smog of teacher self-aggrandizement—self-preservation. Every case of fraudulent testing I have ever heard of has that objective as the motive. In addition, it is the reason every teacher has distorted the word ‘tenure’ to mean job protection or seniority and not mean to protect their right to teach controversial subjects, if they chose.

A person who has accumulated a high college debt; who is willing to teach at a low salary and suffer the consequences of that low income; more than likely are devoted to their profession and are good teachers; that does not mean that all teachers are good nor does it mean that all educational administrators are fair and honest. What it does mean is that teachers are people; exceptional people, but still people. Worst of all, certain politicians are saying to hell with the children, what is important is that everyone hate the intrusive Federal Government—Oh, of course, hate #Obama. They are not above misusing teachers’ sincere complaints made with the intention of making things better for students to destroy common core; remember all the complaints about Obamacare before the Federal Government instituted it and the people found out that it is a great program. 

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