It is a shame when horses get turned out to pasture, but get called back to active duty. They aren’t their old selves. It is obvious that they had better times, and equally obvious that they aren’t the thoroughbred they used to be. They should have stayed in the fields, and smelled the flowers.

One gets that feeling reading Mr. Sweeneys endorsement of Common Core. We all know how it happened. Those educational reformers need a piece to balance the news that Common Core Standards flunked 74% of New York students. Just when they needed people to accept the new standards, those New York results came in proving those Common Core standards crap. It went like this:

Mr Sweeney, is that you?
Yes, it is. How are you?
Good, good. Hey Mr. Sweeney! We got some trouble. Common Core needs an editorial in support of it right away, otherwise those naysayers will start picking it apart and we’ll lose everything; everything. Think you can put up a fluff piece, one that says we need standards to compete in the global economy?
Well, I don’t know. I’m on vacation you know.
Oh man, Mr. Sweeney. We really need it tomorrow. That kavips is already tootin’ his horn about the scores, and if it gets picked up by regular parents and teachers and legislators, the whole kit and caboodle will go up in a mushroom cloud. We really need you. Only you can do it. Only you have the power to convince millions to abandon the truth and accept common core because we say so.
Well, ok, I’ll do it.
Thanks Mr. Sweeney. You’re a peach.

The only problem with a peach, is that over time as the outside gets stripped down bite by bite, at the end, one is left with the pit. We were subjected to an editorial written by a “pit”.

The editorial begins like this…
“The typical discussion about “common core” standards for our schools often misses the point. We need to improve our education system so that our children can compete for a shrinking number of jobs in a world growing more competitive all of the time. It is a simple as that.”

Sounds great. The premise is, since there are more and more people, and fewer and fewer jobs, only those with super big brains will get jobs in the global economy. Not true, actually. Right now there are hundreds of thousands of college students, who have gotten their degree, working at menial jobs for minimum wage. Why? Are they not smart enough? Did they cheat on their exams? Did they drink instead of studying? Did they earn the degree and not learn anything?

Or is it because jobs are already in India, because the annual wage is $7000 a year. Or Pakistan, where $4500 a year is standard. Or China. The idea that jobs matriculate where people are smart, is bunk. Otherwise the dumb Rick Perry could not brag that Texas (the stupidest of states) creates jobs as the US lost them. No! Jobs go to places where labor is cheap. If you want jobs to come here, drop our yearly salary expectations to $3000.
So the concept that we need to change the education system that made the current America, to those systems in China, India, and Pakistan where wages are dirt, is simply a broken concept….

Mr Sweeney the panders some generalities and then, comes to this!

The hard truth is that our students must do better in reading, math and science. We owe it to the students and the entire country to help the school system perform that task.

Ah ha! Must do better he says… ok. must do better… than …. what?
(Oops… he forgot to say)
The implication stated without proof, is that they need to do better than they are today. Well, how bad ARE they doing today? Well according to the NAEP, they are doing better today than they did in 2008.. And that was better than 2004, which was better than 2000, which was better than 1996, which was better than 1992, which was better than 1988, which was better than 1984, which was better than 1980, which was better than 1976, and the tests were started in 1973. All this time we have been listening to how bad education currently is and how much we need to improve…. our scores have climbed. Over 40 years, scores have steadily risen, never falling back! 40 years! Which, if you can guess where I’m going, is that today’s students are graduating smarter, better prepared for the world economy by a great deal more than Mr. Sweeney was way back when.

He apparently did well, he used to run a newspaper. So if he did well but would have registered as stupid compared to those whose tests are being taken now, how does making the tests, standards, even harder, help their prospects when today, we have college graduates waiting tables and doing landscaping? Did you follow that? Essentially Sweeney’s statement is bunk. We don’t necessarily need to do better because we are already better and still not able to find jobs for our graduates. The point is. We need to do something else to bring jobs here.

Oh man. He’s tied to a rock now. He continues:

“We not only have the job of raising the skills and the problem-solving ability of the average American kid, but we have the added challenge of bringing up the skills and abilities of millions of low-income children. We hear a lot of talk about the social mobility of Americans. Here is where it begins – with our children. All of them.”

Hint: as the scores have risen since 1973, the achievement gap has narrowed between blacks and whites, Hispanics and whites, and Asian and whites. The Achievement gap between rich and poor, has widened however. As we put more families into poverty, poverty, which is the biggest factor in education, impacts more students. And the wealthy have continued their rise in test scores, making the gap wider, not smaller.

So raising test hardness and spending less on food stamps, less on medicaid, and less on school lunches, is a failing proposition. They will continue to fail, again and again, because their problem is not with their teaching. It is with the fact that their parents once had great jobs, and now don’t have them, and they aren’t eating as well, sleeping as well, or being encouraged to learn.

“If you don’t think both of these tasks are formidable, you are not being realistic. The math, language and science standards are an attempt to close many of these gaps. They are attempts to set the goal for what knowledge and thinking skills our students should acquire so they can compete in the global marketplace. These standards are not perfect by any means. They also do not solve all our problems. But they point the way to a better-educated country in the near future.”

Here is the mess.

The reality is that this is the equivalent of the NFL changing the rules that from henceforth, each team has only one down to make it’s ten yards. If they fail, the other team gets the ball. So we watch two teams never leave the middle between both 40 yard lines. These standards promote conceptualize knowledge, not practical useful knowledge.

Common Core stresses that if you have one box of blocks and dump them into another box of blocks, that new box will have the combined number of blocks as both boxes did separately. The test tests that a child knows that if you combine to boxes of blocks the total combined will be the same as the two added together.. Do you know this they ask the child, Yes he says and everyone claps because a test questions was answered correctly.
The child still can’t add 456 and 789 by 8th grade. And no one knows it because IT IS NEVER TESTED!

Try these drills with Common Core kids. 9 + 6 =… 8 + 9 =… and you will see what I mean. Notice how long it takes for them to figure it out, and notice their hands. The rote we learned was far more useful than studying a concept that a child can instinctively grasp by age 2. Oh so you add all this to all that, you are going to have the same as all of this and all of that!..

Brilliant.

By the way. this is not helping our competitiveness. It is dumbing down our kids. The scores are blamed on the new test. But what if it’s the program? What if it the corporate sponsors? We know it certainly isn’t the teachers. We know it certainly isn’t the unions. We know it certainly isn’t the locally elected Boards of Educations. We know it is none of these. What if the problem is the tests?

But 74% of New Yorks children failed to meet these New tested Standards. Do they all get held back a year? Or do they get promoted for space reasons, and we reteach again the same course and make them have to go to school an extra year after twelfth grade to make up for this year which they wasted away? Because each year in Common Core builds upon the former. If a child didn’t get the former, they can’t comprehend the latter either!

Am I the only one to see the madness of this system?

Putting Mr. Sweeney in charge of writing the defense of Common Core, would be similar to putting Jea Street in charge of writing the defense of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

Both would be a big fail. It is really unfair for Mr. Sweeney, to get called out on the carpet, in order to defend the indefensible! He’s has worked hard his whole life, even with an education far inferior to those of today’s test takers; he shouldn’t have his whole successful life defined by this magnificent spectacular fail.

Leave him alone! Now! Will you? He’s earned his peace. Make yourself into the fool, instead of parading an old man who doesn’t know any better, to do it for you!

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