Thursday, June 06, 2013


NHPR is discussing Common Core Standards as I write this, with reference to what will bring us up to par with other "industrialised nations."  They are talking about whether the devotion to local control is an obstacle, questions of whether teachers can adapt to it quickly, highlighting the importance of math and the new rigor this will bring.

They are discussing every interesting question except the one that actually drives the numbers that they will look to to see if it is working: racial/ethnic differences. I would like to think that they will someday wish to look for the car keys where they were lost instead of where the light is better, and that they can't look at the reality because they don't want certain truths to be true, because they are kindly disposed, decent-minded people who don't want anyone to feel bad, or that they can't make it just like everyone else on the inspirational posters.

There is a darker interpretation that is at least possible, however.  They like talking about problems and being clever, not actually solving problems to help the unfortunate.  This preserves jobs for their tribe in a general way.  There are two serious precedents for this that we already know exist: the art world, in which "having a conversation" (perfect word) about what art means, or how people relate to art, or any of the other idiotic, vacuous excuses people have for being irritating with talent is taken as something real; and professorships in many college fields, but some in particular, which exist, if you grab them by the collar and force it out of them, mostly to exist, and feed off real learning in parasitic fashion.

So it's not impossible,  It's happened already.  I fear that the voices on NPR have the circular purpose of insuring that NPR-like conversations continue to occur as a paid item.


james said...

One advantage of "conversations" is that you don't have to commit to a plan, and can't ever fail.

Sam L. said...

Your fear has 100% validity.

Dubbahdee said...

I'm not sure I could follow your "darker fears" paragraph. There are two precedents: art and university instructors. But I was not able to make the connection between those things, fear and common core standards.

I'm sure my inability is the result of my having graduated without having passed common core standards. Alas!

Any help?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Whatever they call things, it's just another excuse to talk. This is one more intervention - see the Bush/Kennedy No Child Left Behind, for example - of something that won't change things much, if at all. But the chattering classes will get all worked up that we need this, and all those hick obstructionist locals are an obstacle. This is the 200th time this has happened, and you would think intelligent people would learn.

So I conclude that they don't really want to solve these problems, or even see them clearly. They want something new to talk about every few years, because there are good jobs in being a public talker. I doubt they have the least awareness that they could have anything other than pure motives.