In order to properly evaluate the candidates and their position on this most vital issue, it is necessary to have an understanding of what the program is and, equally as important, what it is not.
It should be understood there are two very distinct and separate parts of this initiative. The first is the “standards” and the second is the “curriculum.” In an effort to mislead the public about the initiative, its proponents focus on the “standards.”
The program is said to be a set of standards by which students are evaluated. The idea is the standards are the same wherever one goes in the U. S. A kneejerk reaction would be “Wow, I can move from Florida to California and my kids won’t have any orientation time in school. It will all be the same.” No intelligent individual believes that will be the case.
Further, there is no reason to think that would be a good thing. The standards given are lower than those in most states, thus adoption means a “dumbing down” of the system.
The second part, which is just now garnering a lot of unfavorable publicity, is the curriculum. In particular, the math curriculum, which reads like something from the imagination of the writers of the popular magazine “Mad,” has parents on the verge of revolt. Upon critical examination, it appears to be just another experimental “edu-fad.” While experimentation is good in some areas, when it sacrifices basic, essential knowledge, it is dangerous.
The “New Math” fad left us with a generation who cannot make change for a dollar bill tendered in purchase of an 87 cent item, cannot multiply and must count on their fingers when deprived of a calculator.
This program replaces basic knowledge (2 plus 2 is 4), with dots on a piece of paper, having columns drawn to represent the “ones,” the “tens,” the “hundreds,” etc. Numbers are written as series of dots in these columns. Thus the number 2,637 is written as 7 dots in the “ones” column, 3 dots in the “tens” column, 6 dots in the “hundreds” and 2 in the “thousands.” To subtract 333 from the figure, mark out 3 dots in the each of the columns (“ones,” “tens” and “hundreds.”) To arrive at the answer, count the remaining dots in each column. It amounts to nothing more than a paper and pencil version of an abacus. It ignores the learning principle, much as constant use of a calculator ignores the learning need.
In the arena of history one might think “1984” has arrived and Winston Smith is busily at work revising history to align with the party line. You will find little mention of the significance of Columbus’s discovery of the New World; rather it focuses on the mistreatment of the natives.
There is little reference to the Founding Fathers and their risking life and fortune to forge a nation with the God-given right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Focus is instead of the positive, on the negative and the problems encountered, along with the perceived mistakes made.
To the best of my knowledge, states are not allowed to teach their own history. Imagine Texas school children with no knowledge of the Alamo!
Gov. Nathan Deal, like 40 other governors, blinded by the lure of federal money, bought into the lies about Common Core, committing our state to fall in lock step with the federal takeover of education. Seventeen of the original 40 are already balking at the program, as it is being forced on upon them.
Fortunately some states are abandoning the program altogether, even under threats by the feds to pull ALL their federal funding.
When choosing school board members, it is incumbent on us to elect those who are not blinded by the propaganda machine and who will work with others to get our state out of this atrocity.
Pete Borden is a retired masonry contractor in east Cobb.