In an article from Crisis Magazine titled “How Common Core Literary Standards Undermine Education,” Michael Ortiz eloquently explains what is at the heart of our objections to standards based education, especially at the early learning stages:
The human individual” wrote philosopher Roger Scruton “is the single most important obstacle that all bureaucratic systems must overcome, and which all ideologies must destroy.” For the things of the spirit, the unfolding of a single soul, defies measurability.
Hence the pre-school years, as well as the primary grades, especially for boys, are absolutely vital. Enclose then in a fantasy world of no effort and constant ego-fulfillment, and curriculum standards, however well-researched, will not easily bring them into the joy of discovering being, the bedrock of truth, and the goal of all education. The temptation to escape to the effortless will be nearly overwhelming.
All the time we forget, amid our technical prowess, that the core elements of learning are essentially unseen to the eye, and certainly not fully accessible to reason: the soul of the child, his or her intellect, will, and heart. Our educational reformers tend to see everything except that which truly matters.
At the heart of this battle is a pround philosophical disagreement on the purpose of education and dignity of the individual person. It is much more than Common Core, by whatever name it is called, it is the moderate education system, that needs to be uprooted.
Referring to the education staff as a “human capital pipeline” reflects a mindset that views people as products. A pipeline is something that is used to transport products like oil and natural gas, not human beings. Who talks like this? Academics, bureaucrats, and elitists who do not live in the real world, that’s who. No one who goes to a local school board meeting would hear people talking like this. We look each other in the eye and call each other by name. We talk to each other as people, not as human capital entities traveling down the education pipeline.
The Meadville Times on August 5, 2013 reported that at an August hearing conducted by the PA House Education Committee, Democratic Rep. Mark Longietti of Mercer County said that if McDonald’s can make a hamburger taste the same at all locations, it is unclear why people believe that schools across the country should not be expected to meet the same quality standards.
These are our children not hamburgers and, although I am sure Mr. Mercier’s point was not to compare children in PA to hamburgers, it just reflects a mindset that seeks to control things that cannot be controlled by government or these philanthropic do-gooders.
At the heart of what’s wrong with Common Core and all it entails is that it neglects to recognize each child as a unique creation of God with a capacity and thirst for knowledge based on objective truth. It reduces the dignity of the human person to unique IDs and data points put into algorithms to spit out an analysis that can never capture the essence and complexities of a child or the human relationships that are involved in teaching. It replaces truth and time-tested traditions in education with a mishmash of ideas and concepts designed by people who have never even step foot into the average classroom. And it’s done under the banner of creating “college and career ready” kids, closing achievement gaps, and leveling the playing field when it will do nothing of the sort.
These are children, not hamburgers on a production line. They’re “ingredients” cannot be tweaked, sorted and molded to fit into an algorithm and predict their path in life. No amount of data can capture the human soul. Simply said, government cannot do God’s work.
And as far as I’m concerned they can keep their McEducation, I’d rather go with the Burger King approach and allow our school districts to have it their way.
Next: A Voluntarily Mandatory Curriculum