Government “requires make believe”, so stated Benjamin Franklin’s acclaimed biographer the late Edmund Morgan. Most of the time, people accept the government version of events even though they are belief accompanied by doubt. However, most citizens are convinced that belief and doubt must co-exist for the sake of maintenance of a democratic and civil society. Doubt overcomes belief rarely. One of the times that it does is when the people believe that the welfare of their children is threatened. Common Core comprises that threat in several areas.
There is the threat of bureaucratic imposition. Arrogance assumed by fiat is a concern. The ubiquitous presence “of we know best” attitude accompanies all mandates. This is particularly true in education and social policy. The proposed curriculum demands frequent testing as a major instrument of measured effectiveness. It is another example of the technology and digital essentials which increasingly impact our lives. You learn what the test wants you to know. The fact that pedagogical effectiveness is part of the test structure is a disincentive for the teacher to encourage any area of inquiry beyond test parameters.
In fact, Einstein had difficulty with math. He went beyond the expected responses. For example, He wondered what would happen if light could be bent. He found out and changed the world in general and physics in particular. The one size fits all mantra often inhibits original thought.
Problem solving is but one aspect of learning. It is, and should be, part of all educational programs. An over-emphasis on measurable phenomena narrows the scope of learning and starves the soul. Quantity only opens the way to govern mental ukase. History has shown it threatens diversity and creative activity, along with providing conditions susceptible to propaganda.
The human brain is a billion cell wonder. It controls capacity to and timing of learning. People are not push-buttons! Their learning skills, and the emotions they produce are complex beyond measure. The frustrations that this condition develops are legion. They defy a universal and imposed solution!
Dr. Bill Plunkett, Ed.D