In most cases, people who are given public forums are vetted by the organizations they represent or the media for some basic skills in argument or communication beforehand. But occasionally, every blogger’s dream comes true: someone with none of those basic skills will get a chance to make outrageous statements before a wide audience of people, and it’s up to us to comment on the sheer absurdity of those statements. Such is the case with Barbara Rush.
This week she’s taking the Common Core to task. I’ll admit that I don’t know enough about education theory to defend or attack the common core standards. However, I know enough of typical Barbara Rush to know that Common Core is really secondary to her continuing reaction against the evils of teaching children to think for themselves.
Her biggest opposition is to having children do research. I’ll let her words speak for themselves:
“Do our students have time to do research and spend time discussing their opinions? Young children need to know something before they are ready to do research.”
I don’t know if Rush has thought about this, but it’s pretty clear to me what is at work here. Because after all, research is how the rest of us get to know something. I think what Rush is saying is that students need to be taught something directly before they be allowed to research, which is to say, students need to learn to accept that knowledge comes from authority before they are allowed to start forming their own opinions. This lesson is more important to conservatives than any foundational knowledge kids pick up. Her desire that children be force fed opinions by teacher sticking to a script is further revealed when she says
” I didn’t see anything in the samples that indicated they would be teaching the free enterprise system and the wonders of our founding fathers and the United States Constitution.”
If the wonders of an economic system that leaves us with a catastrophic wealth disparity or a constitution that failed to outlaw slavery are not self-evident, perhaps they need to be rethought and taught in context. That would only seem rational, but again, rational thought is secondary to ideological education in the conservative mind.