Education

Idiot Objections to the Common Core Illustrated

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I’m working on a longer post about the adoption of the the Common Core State Standards, but thought I’d tease it with an example of the insane objections coming from the Far Right fringe, who apparently believe that more rigorous standards for American students are “communist” and “tyrannical.” While there is certainly reasonable debate to be had about the future of American education, we’re not going to find it by engaging those who look under their beds every night for lurking communists.

The Blaze, the semi-literate right wing’s version of  The New Yorker, offered this HORRIFYING EXAMPLE of communist propaganda as a reason to reject the Common Core: a teacher challenged her sixth grade students to “revise, omit two and add two amendments” to the “outdated” Bill of Rights. Ignoring the fact that the assignment had nothing to do with the Common Core, the hysterical reaction shows just how deeply conservatives fear teaching critical thinking. From my point of view, it’s an excellent assignment for middle school kids, asking them to evaluate the necessity of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, changes needed today, or simply reword existing provisions.

You know who else thought occasionally revisiting the Constitution was a good idea? The people who wrote the damn thing.  You know, because they permitted the idea of amending the Constitution in the first place, a wise move for those of us who are happy that African-Americans can no longer be owned as chattel and that women can vote.

But the good folks in the extreme right don’t just regret those changes the Constitution. They’d regret having more students capable of analytical thought, because thinkers are most certainly not their voters. Consider the reasoned input of Representative David Howard:

dhoward

To some extent, the “debate” over Common Core reflects the disproportionate influence the unhinged right is having on policy debates in this country. The vast majority of Americans know that their elected officials will not pursue a “SOCIALIST” agenda, nor will their teachers indoctrinate children with “anti-American” values.  Because they trust their schools, they are content to largely remain on the sidelines while ill-informed conspiracy theorists howl about innocuous standards to small circle of the similarly conspiracy-inclined. For every three of them who show up to misinform at a public meeting on the standards, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Americans who trust the professionals in charge of the schools to work in the interest of their students.

In the same way that most of us would edge away from someone hurling crazed epithets on the street, most of us have no inclination to ‘”debate” Common Core opponents who know little, but speak a hell of a lot about something they simply don’t understand.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

81 Comments

  • Don, I like your graphic with one exception. There is NO picture of me! Hell, I’m about as commie as ALL them dudes. Well, actually, I’m just a patriotic American in the true sense of the word, but that’s a commie to craig’s friends!

  • Its amazing how everyday the GOP have inched closer and closer to being the Talaban regarding schools. Thinking that teaching christian dogma is somehow different than Islamic fundamentalism or that it belongs in schools today? Really?

    Ah NO!

  • I get a glimpse at how out of touch I am with American core values when I find myself wishing that teachers taught analytical skills, socialism, and those parts of the Bill of Rights that really ought to be tried sometime.

  • Frankly, the only “idiots” are the author of this article along with the commenters who agree with him. Good luck to you all in getting our intensely messed up government to solve all your problems. Thank God, yes, GOD that obummer will be out soon with no chance of reelection! I don’t need the government micromanaging my life, much less my decisions as to how my child is educated. It is more than obvious if you are a parent, that these common core baloney “standards” are doing nothing other than setting up our children for failure by exposing them to material way, way before they are ready to handle it.

    And er um, hey Don, are YOU a parent? probably not! Because if you were and had to sit with a child night after night trying to explain homework to a first grader that years ago was done by a third or fourth grader you would understand that the common core DOES NOT WORK AND NEVER WILL. Children need to to be exposed to material that is age and grade appropriate. Additionally, all children learn differently, therefore, education cannot be cookie-cutter and expected to be exactly the same for all kids. They are not robots! God bless you all – you certainly need it!

    • HEY, you ARE free, concerned dude. You’re free to home school your kid if you want to. But what you’re NOT free to do is screw up the education standards for everyone else because “god” talks to you! That’s kind’a sick, doncha think? American Taliban much?? You see, the vast majority of us love our public education system here in Montana. Might I suggest that you move to a bible belt state to educate your child in snake handling? For you see, we also believe in animal rights. Ain’t fair to abuse snakes that way!

      p.s. When I hear someone start preachin’ about god in public policy, I run the other way as fast as I can! For you see, I consider the god gene and the stupid gene to be one in the same! Once you throw logic out the window in public education, the vacuum is filled with hatred and bigotry, just like that preached by rightwing christofascists.

    • This will shock you, but the President of the United States is not dictating what your children learn. The states which adopted the CCSS and your local school board are doing that, just as they always have.

      The CCSS is a much-needed adjustment to ensure that more kids are ready for college and careers that will demand higher level of skills. I can’t understand why a parent wouldn’t want that for his children.

    • We had a serious discussion last night over dinner about a grandson, sitting there, trying his best to be a good student as they hammer math into his non-analytic head. The problem is not this or that subject or grade, but the whole of a system that imparts information on kids, asks that the read it back, and judges them by the standard of read-back accuracy. Every teacher I know swears up and down that they are teaching analytical skills, but evidence everywhere says that this is not so, and cannot be so in the current environment where the curriculum has been seized by the state.

      Take the grandson, for instance: He’s not good at math, arithmetic, algebra, trig or anything concrete. I asked him what pleases him most, and he said Spanish and English, indicating an abstract nature. He’s shown a flare for cooking, some artistic skills in need of development. The problem, as his mother said bluntly, is that he has to get into college because degrees are of such low value these days that they are required even for jobs for which they serve no purpose. I asked if it mattered what kind of degree or what college, and she said no. In some fields, on some levels, that stuff is very important. A law degree form Harvard or Yale matters. But for most kids now they are demanding merely a piece of paper that says they went to a college as a means of reducing the field of applicants for any position, and making decisions easier.

      It’s a very backward kind of system that insists on core curriculum imposed on a mass scale with industrial grading concepts to allow advancement. In the case of the grandson, he needs to be guided on his journey with a firm hand that doesn’t coddle but also does not demand that he perform well at things he shows no aptitude for. But since the state has taken control of the schools via the testing regime, the schools have to structure themselves accordingly, and pretend they are not. Thus, core curriculum.

      • I don’t buy ‘not good at math’ as a general explanation Many people are not good at math, but given enough time and help, they can learn Algebra and Geometry, maybe some basic stats, and in their lives they will never need more than that. The problem is we don’t give them that chance. Everybody gets 180 days to understand everything we want them to understand about geometry. Either they get it, or they don’t. If they really don’t get it – they get a bad grade, a hit to their GPA, and they get to do it again, in the SAME 180 DAYS that was too fast for them the first time, only now they are slightly more bitter about it.

        More likely than that though, they won’t get it but they’ll do their homework and get enough right on the tests to pass, but they haven’t learned geometry, and thus they have wasted at least 200 hours of their lives.

        I’m not sure exactly how I would do it differently, but there certainly needs to be a focus on ensuring basic but complete understanding, not checking off a list of things students have ‘learned’.

        • When I saw your name I expected to disagree. But I don’t. But it is plain to see that whether you like it or not, your job is filling heads with information that is later read back and then forgotten. The basic objective of education appears to be to produce submissive employees (and a the student loan regime enforces that as well. An aside.)

          Our grandson and his dad work every night on his math skills. (His mother is a career counselor.) To get by he needs some basic arithmetic, consumer interest, simple tax return and the ability to do a little probability analysis (having that he’d see that 9/11 as told to us is statistically impossible, but if the teachers can’t figure that out, how can the kids! An aside). The rest is a waste of his time, which could be used following his obvious talents in language, creativity, and even culinary fields. I would bet that he’d breeze through some basic food science (in our f****-up country, the food corporations have corrupted that too! An aside.)

          While teachers worry about curriculum, head-filling, grade achievement, education takes a back seat.

          • I happen to have another job now, but I’ll certainly admit that I was primarily a stuffer of heads – my goal was to get kids diplomas so they might have a chance at doing better than statistics predicted for them. Statistically, I was highly successful. Unfortunately, you’re right, I only had a few students for whom that goal was safe enough that we could afford to go any deeper on most topics – though I was able to with some students really explore history, philosophy, religion, or whatever they were interested in at the moment, and as a speech and debate coach I also got to do much more of that sort of thing.

            However, I have to draw the line between myself and Don. Don was under far less head-stuffing pressure, or resisted it more effectively. Either way, he was able to use his classes to expose students to topics as diverse as Objectivism, Marxism, and Deep Ecology, and to do so in an unbiased enough manner that he soon had adherents of all three in his class. (okay, so maybe he didn’t teach Objectivism in a totally unbiased way, but it’s a bonkers philosophy and its hard for a compassionate human to talk about it unbiasedly), and the conversations he fostered outside of class were some of the most intellectually stimulating I’ve had, and certainly the best to prepare for a seminar in college. Now, I don’t know exactly how Don managed to do it when most teachers seem chained to a very particular curriculum, but I’m here to tell you its possible. On the other hand, its worth evaluating what every student needs to know – because as you point out, much more could be done to help students actually experience success in the areas they are good at if so much time were not spent pushing them further than is practical in subjects they will never need.

      • I don’t think you know much about state control, curriculum, or teaching. It’s great that you’re concerned about your grandson, but I don’t think you really grasp the central issues of Common Core adoption, how curricula are developed,or how teachers teach.

        • I am familiar, Don, and also able to judge the product coming out of your institutions. I know how people like to cloak themselves in jargon and professionalism, imagining what they do to be beyond mere mortals. I am a CPA and tax “professional.” I avoid all jargon. If I cannot explain something in easily understood terms, then I don’t understand it. It’s not rocket science.

          You are teachers. It’s not rocket science. You are part of a system that produces thinking independent-minded and creative adults. If you are doing your job, then tell me, where are they? Off fighting out wars? Being manipulated by the propaganda system? Up to their ears in the TV/movie/advertising culture?

          I was a bad student, independent-minded, poor grades, bored silly. That’s how I survived school and became a thinking adult.

          • It must be gratifying to be an expert in every subject.

            For a “thinking adult,” you certainly seem drawn to sweeping generalizations that are unsupported by evidence. It’s fine, though, the rest of us who labor at our jobs probably lack your universal competence and understanding. If you want write up a quick syllabus for teaching students how to be critical thinkers like you, feel free to send it my way. I primarily teach 11th grade, so if you could focus on that year, I’d really appreciate it.

            • Gee whiz. Did-not-see-that-coming.

              Industrial education requires broad application without attention to individual needs. It is what it is. Stop pretending otherwise. You have to dispense information, have it read back to you, and grade the read-back. I ingested a huge amount of information to pass the CPA exam. I probably retained 5%.

              I experienced industrial education. I have a right to an opinion.

  • I get a glimpse at how out of touch I am with the American core values when I find myself wishing that teachers taught analytical skills, socialism, and those parts of the Bill of Rights that really ought to be tried sometime.

    • Um, don’t feel TOO superior, little dude. You have a WHOLE lot of growing up yet to do. BTW, just where did you serve in Nam again? Dude, you weren’t even sh*tting yellow yet when I was in the fray, kicking nazzi ass and taking names. I realize that you’re from somewhere else and wouldn’t understand. You newbies to Montana are like the guy who gets laid for the first time and thinks he discovered sex! Please do try to respect your elders a wee bit.

      • Just read your comment while rapping it in my head and you might have found yourself a career. Forever ranting with capital letters and random hyped observations. And, asking respect from others using disrespectful language, definitely the trademark.
        Go MC Kralj!

        • Um, no. I’m NOT “asking” for respect from anyone. Wow, did YOU misread my intentions. You see, I was only pointing out that lefties in particular seem to go out of their way to attack other lefties that they don’t agree with. It really IS an elitist thing. Why in the hell would anyone want to criticize what someone else has posted? I could care less. Do you even BEGIN to understand? That is why many people want nothing to do with so called progressives, for they really are some elitist snob assholes. I see it in the enviro movement all the time. If you are not one of the elite little enviros in their social circle, you really are not considered part of the club. They get together for their little dinners and give each other awards. THEY are the ones in need of a good ego stroking and ego boost! But they are NEVER the ones in the trenches doing the actual on the ground enviro work. Enviromentalism to them is all about THEM, and NOT the environment! They are snobs! They won’t even talk to you if you don’t fit into their little elite circle of friends. And yes, they are quite wealthy too. And the blogs are much like that too. And that is exactly why so many average Joe working people want nothing to do with lefties or the environmental movement. Snobby elitism really does turn them off! And I come from that class myself.

          You see, that is why I love Don’s blog so much, He is never condescending, even though he has every right to be if he wanted. He’s an intellectual who probably should be teaching a the college level. He’s a working man in the trenches of education, and he’s an excellent writer to boot. He does not have to do this blog- probably the best one in the state- but he does it anyway. And he is NOT snobby or elitist in any way. Can you understand that?

          Here, I’ll try to make it as plain as I can. WHY do some folks feel the need to belittle others? Maybe you could start there. I was simply attempting to point out that here we have lizard, a newbie to Montana, who feels emboldened enough to criticize and belittle me! Why? What is his motivation? Is it because I embarrass his “cause”? Well, tough shit! I come from a different mold. And I get damn tired of being criticized for it! I, personally, am tired of whimp lefty dilettantes who talk a good game (see lizard) but invest NOTHING personally. I have invested personally! And risked it all. Now, do I want an award for that? Nope. Just let me write what I know, for you see, unLIKE the dilettantes, for I’ve earned that right.

          You see, Flor, I’m old. I actually REMEMBER when lefties were tough as nails working men who didn’t back down or wet down both legs when confronted! I grew UP around these folks. They had fought REAL bloody fights in the union organizing days, and I grew up on their stories. Coal field stories! These people were NOT elitist little snobs, nor did they have their little dinners to give each other awards. And they sacrificed for others. They didn’t want awards, rather simply a better life for all. It’s called altruism, something sorely lacking in our little elitist, snobby modern day left!

          Hope this helps. Now, if you want to rap to what I write, good for you. I’m done.

          • And Flor, I’ll repeat it once again although I’ve already said it a gazillion times to lefties: issues are issues; people are NOT issues!………….. Unless of course it a public person is screwing up badly, ie. the dick, cheney, or some such war criminal. Then they are the issue. But for god’s sake leave other bloggers the hell alone. It’s OK to attack goofy rightwing bloggers in my book, because they deserve it. But lefties? No. We are ALL of us on an evolutionary scale. Some are just way ahead of the game. Always been that way. Some get it through hands on experience, and others from reading about it. I suggest that you bring your OWN experiences and perspective to the issues of the day.

            Now, I’ll provide some examples. Racism. You can NOT appreciate racism fully unless you’ve been subjected to racism. Just ain’t gonna happen. For those who suffer it daily fully understand how awful it is. You can empathize, but you cannot know!

            Gays. Same deal. Hard to walk a mile in their shoes.

            Military. As the Nam vets used to say, if you haven’t been there, shut the f*ck up. Those who’ve served in the military know a thing or two more than those who haven’t. And this gives them insight into the military industrial complex.

            The environment. If you haven’t lived long enough to have viewed the awful destruction that has occurred in the last sixty years or so, you have a far different perspective on things. Also, if you never been dependent on resource extraction to make your living, you wouldn’t understand the working mans’ concerns.

            Everyone brings their own world view. Allow it to be expressed. If you’re a newbie from back east, full of youthful ideals, stupidity and unearned overconfidence, you end up doing real stoopid stuff like the infamous Jon Adam’s story on Walt Schweitzer. If your name is lizard, you should try to gain a leetle actual experience before belittling others.

            The second amendment is there for all of us to use.

          • WHY do some folks feel the need to belittle others?

            are you serious? that’s your whole schtick, using nicknames and other crude phrases to do precisely what you’re now hilariously bemoaning.

            I do think your commentary here shows how selective Don is when it comes to moderating his blog, and if you think Don isn’t condescending, well, that’s kind of his schtick, so, again, lay off the sauce, disable the CAPS button, and maybe you’ll be able to see things more clearly. hell, maybe one day you’ll even realize Schweitzer wasn’t all that great a steward of the environment you were in the trenches bleeding for. anything’s possible I guess.

            • “are you serious? that’s your whole schtick, using nicknames and other crude phrases to do precisely what you’re now hilariously bemoaning.”

              Other than Tokarski, who is in class by himself, please point out where I have ever belittled someone who didn’t deserve it. There aren’t any. Go back and read what I wrote carefully. Lefties, dude, lefties! And yes, I know that Schweitzer is not the enviro that I am. But I have known him for a long time, and I know that he is a good, decent, honorable, extremely intelligent and capable man who will try to do the right thing in every instance. I knew that when I first threw my support to him. He never minded that I was an enviro, and I never minded that he wasn’t. In fact, I remember clearly entering a fundraiser for him here in GF one time, and when I entered the room, he called, “How’s the Ranger”? You see, where other politicians ran as fast and as far away as the could when the Rangers showed up, Schweitzer embraced us! True story. He was not afraid to be seen with us at all. He simply didn’t care. He’s genuine, and so are we. I respect him greatly for that. The only other politician I can remember doing that was Mark O’Keefe. He too was unafraid to be seen with radical environmentalists. All of this is true. Check it out. Ask them yourself.

              And really, “lay off the sauce”?? Why? Where you from? When you’re a working man, you drink! You see, you’re elitism is showing again. What do YOU drink, wine? tee hee! At the fern bar?? Between lattes?? That’s why no one in Montana takes your site seriously. We drink! “Ale man, ale’s the stuff! Malt does more than Milton can to justify God’s ways to man”! Or did you forget? Or never know. I thought that you were supposed to be a “poet”.

              • My apologies to A.E.

                Lizzard, this is stupid stuff:
                You eat your victuals fast enough;
                There can’t be much amiss, ’tis clear,
                To see the rate you drink your beer.
                But oh, good Lord, the “VERSE” you make, 5
                It gives a chap the belly-ache.
                The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
                It sleeps well, the horned head:
                We poor lads, ’tis our turn now
                To hear such tunes as killed the cow. 10
                Pretty friendship ’tis to rhyme
                Your friends to death before their time
                Moping melancholy mad:
                Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.’

                Why, if ’tis dancing you would be, 15
                There’s brisker pipes than poetry.
                Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
                Or why was Burton built on Trent?
                Oh many a peer of England brews
                Livelier liquor than the Muse, 20
                And malt does more than Milton can
                To justify God’s ways to man.
                Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
                For fellows whom it hurts to think:
                Look into the pewter pot 25
                To see the world as the world’s not.
                And faith, ’tis pleasant till ’tis past:
                The mischief is that ’twill not last.
                Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
                And left my necktie God knows where, 30
                And carried half way home, or near,
                Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
                Then the world seemed none so bad,
                And I myself a sterling lad;
                And down in lovely muck I’ve lain, 35
                Happy till I woke again.
                Then I saw the morning sky:
                Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
                The world, it was the old world yet,
                I was I, my things were wet, 40
                And nothing now remained to do
                But begin the game anew

                • At work. You see, I work most every day. Two jobs you know. And when I get off, I prefer to unwind with a beverage or two. Or sometimes three. But actually drunk? No, I kid. I drink to relax.

                  BTW, just for the record, have YOU ever gone years without a day off? I have done it many times, even at my age. And the work I do is the most grueling there is. So, why not a beer or two? It’s my mini-vacation. Running/walking/hiking is my love, which I do daily unless it’s a horrific tree job coming up for the day, and drinking is my relaxation. I’m up at between 2:30 and 4:30 every morning to run before work. And then, after a full day, I’ve EARNED a cold one or two or three. I’ve done this for forty some years now, and it hasn’t killed me yet. As I used to tell my students, you can drink all the beer you want. And then, after a pause, as LONG as you run ten miles a day! Won’t hurt you a bit, and you won’t want to drink to excess. True story. Every distance runner I ever knew drank beer copiously. And it never hurt them one bit.

                • I had the great pleasure of drinking beer with Walt at the Pikes Peak Marathon in ’77. Walt drank like a fish too, and he was a great commie! I think he was only about 64 when we ran Pikes together.

                • Here’s a little more on Walt. He was a legend. And Walt never wore a shirt, EVER, even in the winter in San Francisco. Well, when we got to the start of the Pikes Peak Marathon in ’77, there were only three runners there without shirts on, me, Jack Chapman, and Walt. You see, Jack and I were dumb enough to forget that at 14,000 feet, even in August, it gets damn cold on the top of the mountain. But Walt just didn’t care! Anyway, we lucked out. It didn’t snow until we were well back down the mountain. Spooked me though when I saw all the other runners carrying winter gear! Good to be stoopid sometimes!

                  http://articles.latimes.com/1995-01-22/news/mn-22882_1_walt-stack

              • Larry, they have made a case study out of you in the European Journal of Social Psychology. http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/feminism-maybe-feminists-ewww-66918/

                Why don’t people behave in more environmentally friendly ways? New research presents one uncomfortable answer: They don’t want to be associated with environmentalists.

                That’s the conclusion of troubling new research from Canada, which similarly finds support for feminist goals is hampered by a dislike of feminists.

                Participants held strongly negative stereotypes about such activists, and those feelings reduced their willingness “to adopt the behaviors that these activities promoted,” reports a research team led by University of Toronto psychologist Nadia Bashir. This surprisingly cruel caricaturing, the researchers conclude, plays “a key role in creating resistance to social change.”

                Writing in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Bashir and her colleagues describe a series of studies documenting this dynamic. They began with three pilot studies, which found people hold stereotyped views of environmentalists and feminists…

                This is, needless to say, frustrating news for activists, and not just the ones mentioned here. The researchers suggest this dynamic may very well apply across the board, such as to activities advocating gay rights or Wall Street reform.

                “Unfortunately,” they write, “the very nature of activism leads to negative stereotyping. By aggressively promoting change and advocating unconventional practices, activists become associated with hostile militancy and unconventionality or eccentricity.”

                “Furthermore, this tendency to associate activists with negative stereotypes and perceive them as people with whom it would be unpleasant to affiliate reduces individuals’ motivation to adopt the pro-change behaviors that activists advocate.”

                So the message to advocates is clear: Avoid rhetoric or actions that reinforce the stereotype of the angry activist. Realize that if people find you off-putting, they’re not going to listen to your message. As Bashir and her colleagues note, potential converts to your cause “may be more receptive to advocates who defy stereotypes by coming across as pleasant and approachable.”

                • Craig, I must thank you for that. I found that to be very interesting. I’ll comment later though on the article itself. But thinks again. A good read.

                • “Larry, as an older dude, I consider you a part of a failed generation.”

                  Fair enough. I have said that many times myself. I am terribly disappointed in my generation. For you see, it’s left to the screw-ups like myself to carry on the fight. And that’s just wrong. Good luck to ya, and peace. I never give up hope, but I am not optimistic. I fear the future for my grandkids. And as an older relative told me, just hug them every day. That’s all there is!

              • I wouldn’t consider myself a very good arbiter of who deserves to be belittled and who doesn’t. and if you want examples of where I have pointed out specific problems I’ve had with your comments, I seem to remember writing an entire post about it.

                Larry, as an older dude, I consider you a part of a failed generation. the individual acts you are self-mythologizing will mean nothing if we can’t accurately describe how corrupt our entire political process has become, and that includes Schweitzer. that you have met the man means nothing when the pipeline finally gets pushed through, and the coal keeps adding to the global environmental crisis. while you are keeping weird tabs on the masculinity of people who advocate not totally fucking this planet, us younger dudes are trying to figure out how this corruption will effect our friends and families.

                • Oops. Should have gone here. Sorry bout that. Don, please erase the above.

                  “Larry, as an older dude, I consider you a part of a failed generation.”

                  Fair enough. I have said that many times myself. I am terribly disappointed in my generation. For you see, it’s left to the screw-ups like myself to carry on the fight. And that’s just wrong. Good luck to ya, and peace. I never give up hope, but I am not optimistic. I fear the future for my grandkids. And as an older relative told me, just hug them every day. That’s all there is!

                • Sounds good, amigo. Give me a call if you ever get close to GF. 868-3808. But I gotta warn ya, I work a lot. Hard to find time to drink much. I drink between six and eight. And then, I read for an hour and a half or so, and then off to bed. Four thirty comes awfully early. I’m hoping to cut back a bit when I start doing the social security thing though. And for the record, I’d like to talk to any posters here who would like to chat. Give me a call.

            • If you want to insult me or Larry, use your name. That’s my rule. This is my polite request that you do so.

              When someone uses their real name, they deserve more latitude, because they are accountable publicly for their words. Simply leaving a comment doesn’t mean I endorse it; it either means I didn’t read it or didn’t think it was objectionable enough to remove.

              People can also choose to post comments anonymously here, as well, but they simply get less room to do so. They’re not accountable, and it’s simply not fair for people who use their names to get attacked by those who don’t.

              So, criticize me, my site, my moderating policy, my politics, my taste all you want at my site. Just have the integrity to stop doing it under a pseudonym.

              • I guess then that my pseudonym, “Mark Tokarski,” makes my comments disappear. In the future I’ll use my real name, Leon Trotsky-el-Hussein-bin-Laden. It’s just a lot of writing.

  • p.s. The LAST time I posted anything of consequence, this was the result, little fella.

    The Usurpathoner Road Show 20,838 views

    Ever had that many views in a week on ANY subject you’be posted? You see, whizzer, either you’ve got it or you don’t. It don’t come easy, and it ain’t cheap. You gotta pay your dues if you want to have people read what you write. It’s called authenticity! Check it out. Try is sometime. You just might learn something. For you gotta write what you know, and if you don’t know sh*t, you WRITE sh*t! Hope this helps.

          • Oh HELL yes! No, just getting started. Actually, I find this lizard character interesting. I don’t really quite understand why he would go out of his way to attack me. I don’t recall ever attempting to even criticize him. Maybe I did, but I don’t remember. I could’a been drunk at the time.

            But the thing that concerns me is that he is representative of many on the left. They talk a good game, but they’re wimps. I prefer warrior poets, like say Jose Marti, who died while fighting for Cuban independence. Not WIMPY pseudo poets who attack folks that they don’t even know! Why?

            Can I be honest for a moment? The reason that Cowgirl allowed me back on her site was that PEOPLE, READERS kept contacting her asking why I was banned! They WANTED me back on! What does that tell you? Well, people like to read what I write. Why? Because as I tried to explain to grasshopper, no, I mean flea (he’s more of an annoyance than anything else) is that people like what I write. It’s a gift, but a hard won gift. I’ve paid my dues.

            When everyone in Montana was AFRAID to be called an environmentalist, fearing even to sign their real names on letters to the ed, the Rangers REVELED in attacking the corporate fascists! We enjoyed taking the fight to the bullies, the bad guys, the corporate assholes and their henchmen. I’m not making any of this up! We DID it! At great risk to ourselves and our families. But we did it anyway because it was very important work. Hell, ask Jim Jensen of MEIC if you don’t believe me! We we’re everywhere Jim was, when the ONLY people there were Jim and the Rangers! Check it out. We did friggin’ international MAGAZINE articles explaining our positions to the world. (Arena, November ’97) We had numerous contacts with the FBI folks who showed up to monitor us! We didn’t care. We welcomed them in and told them everything we planned to do in great detail.

            Now, am I tooting my own horn here? No. I’m just pointing out that along comes a wimpy jonny come lately who has risked NOTHING, and he’s going to criticize me?? Doesn’t make sense.

            I have been fired from more jobs than I care to remember for doing what I do. I’ve been threatened repeatedly; I’ve had my stuff stolen and vandalized; I’ve been harassed in numerous ways. But do I care? Not a whit! It’s all worth it. In other words, I actually put my ASS on the line for the environment here in Montana. So, why does this flea attack me? I don’t get it. What IS his problem? And more importantly, what has he done????? THAT is the question.

            • For the flea, from today.

              The Usurpathoner Road Show 21,190 views

              What have you risked, flea, to make you authentic? I’m not seeing it, cupcake. Start by putting your name out there and not hiding any longer.

            • Larry, the initial comment wasn’t addressed to you. I was ribbing Don because his blog was your roost after the cowgirl clipped your wings, and I assumed, with your privileges there restored, that maybe Don was hoping you’d take your slurry CAPS back to where it belongs, your rightful home.

              I’ve heard a bit about you Rangers! and I would make a simple suggestion to an environmentalist like yourself: enjoy what you fought for. judging from the frequency of your commentary, you spend a lot of time rubbing out comments. what does that accomplish? and you sometimes say incendiary things that, in this day and age, are not to be screwed around with.

              and then there’s this warrior poet label you’ve tossed around. ok. what is that all about? I’ll be generous and assume you’re a bit of a romantic, wanting to elevate poetry to some noble, righteous battle. I think, Larry, you have a very limited imagination.

              • I read comments about once a week. For someone who’s presented himself as a victim in the intra-blog conflicts that occasionally flare up, you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on petty issues like this.

                Have you guys given Tokarski commenting privileges back?

                • so you have no problem with Larry’s thread pollution, personal attacks and nazi accusations?

                  as to your question, ask j-girl.

                  and Larry, I’m sure at one time you were more capable of coherent commentary, but these days you seem more like the drunk uncle families begrudgingly put up with during the holidays.

                • absurd: extremely silly, foolish, or unreasonable : completely ridiculous

                  Fascism: Fascists sought to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that promoted the mass mobilization of the national community, and were characterized by having a vanguard party that initiated a revolutionary political movement aiming to reorganize the nation along principles according to fascist ideology. Hostile to liberal democracy, socialism, and communism, fascist movements shared certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism and militarism. Fascism views political violence, war, and imperialism as a means to achieve national rejuvenation and asserts that stronger nations have the right to expand their territory by displacing weaker nations.

                • Don, I actually KNOW what it’s like as a teacher to do what you do, for I did it too, for a looong time and a long time ago. In the early days, before the internet. People think that they own you because you’re a teacher. Hell, I was writing in the GF Spitoon when I was teaching in Chester, a hotbed of Teatardism if there ever was one! (actually got the silver pen award one time for a piece making fun of the nearly arrived rob nasalsound!) And I paid the price. I was the very first teacher in the state to confront head on “creationism”. (Ask Eric Fever, he knows) And I paid a price for it. I was Satan. Well, actually not THE Satan, but apparently close enough kin for Hiline rednecks. Midnight phone calls, stuff stolen, stuff vandalized, etc. I left for GF after that. Although I loved the area, I couldn’t live there any more.

                  I admire you greatly for having the courage to write this blog. It can’t be easy. But at least Helena has a few more liberals than the Hiline! BTW, I taught at Joplin too. And don’t get me wrong. There are many good people up there too. But the truth be told, there are some real assholes too.! And they make it a tough place to live.

                • I actually have a problem with Larry’s Nazi imagery on occasion and I’ve even censored his language (though not his basic ideas, which he’s entitled to, regardless of their merits). But generally it’s not worth my time to read through everything he writes to make sure nothing is offensive – I’m rarely in the mood to discuss particular points with him and I’m certainly not going to change his mind. He’s eccentric and a true believer in his ideals, so while I may disagree with some of what he says its seldom he crosses the line and is almost never worth arguing against. I think Cowgirl’s audience appreciates his style more than ours does, though.

  • Common Core might be accepted voluntarily by local school boards, and in the areas of math and reading it makes some sense. Yet, it does strike a rational fear in those who understand the proper role of a federal government. Knowing how central government has grown in power over the years helps one understand why Common Core seems to follow along the same path.

    It starts as voluntary, after a few years someone gets the bright idea to make it mandatory. The federal government usurps the authority to set the curriculum, probably through the Department of Education. Then we add other areas to the standard. Science, social studies, etc. There will be a move to make mandates and attach grants and federal money to sweeten the pot. Then, they move to penalties and law suits. Result- Federal control of education.

    I’m not saying this will happen with common core, but I cannot reasonably expect that it won’t considering the past record of how all authority and power is collected into a centralized federal authority, indoctrinating students into a national “way of thinking”.

    Generally, my pubic school was a mill of indoctrination for the Democratic party. Why would I expect anything different from the Common Core?

    Too many people believe that public education can no longer be trusted. Instead of calling the skeptics loonies, maybe you should make every attempt to win back the trust of the people of this nation. That would be the right thing to do. Once trust is lost, it takes many years to earn it back.

    • The Common Core sets standards, not the curriculum. States are free to implement the common core in the way they think best. And to me, that’s a problem. Not only do we need national education standards, we need a national curriculum to ensure that students are guaranteed a quality education no matter where they live. This is especially important for students with parents serving in the armed forces. For example, the son of an Air Force officer stationed at Great Falls, or another base in a northern state, probably gets a pretty decent education in public school. But if the father is transferred to a southern base, the school may not be as good. And even if it is as good, the curriculum might be different enough to cause difficulties for the student. There’s no reason why math, science, music, and the humanities should be taught in different ways in different public schools when we are one nation, and when many of our citizens move from place to place.

      Many first world nations with high standards of living have national curriculums, and seem to me to be the better for it. I simply do not understand why a national curriculum and standards strikes such fear in the hearts of some people. Exactly what would a national curriculum teach that you think ought not be taught, and why?

      • I find it so odd that education is viewed as dissemination of a “curriculum” to students (with appropriate read-back) rather than helping them learn as they explore. There’s a reason why these kids are mostly bored!

        “The thing to do is to try to help [students] get out of their intellectual confinement, which is not just accidental, as I mentioned. There are huge efforts that do go into making people, to borrow Adam Smith’s phrase, “as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be.” A lot of the educational system is designed for that, if you think about it, it’s designed for obedience and passivity. From childhood, a lot of it is designed to prevent people from being independent and creative. If you’re independent-minded in school, you’re probably going to get into trouble very early on. That’s not the trait that’s being preferred or cultivated. When people live through all this stuff, plus corporate propaganda, plus television, plus the press and the whole mass, the deluge of ideological distortion that goes on, they ask questions that from another point of view are completely reasonable….” (Chomsky, Class Warfare, 1995)

  • “Generally, my pubic school was a mill of indoctrination for the Democratic party. Why would I expect anything different from the Common Core?”

    Um, mind providing a few concrete examples?! What utter nonsense, rev. BTW, you’re a man of the cloth. Is Jesus really a ReePube?

  • Generally, my church was a mill of indoctrination for the Republican party.

    That said, I went to a catholic high school, where I learned religion is not to be trusted.

    Political preachers really trouble me. At least students in class have the option to question the teaching, and students that do probably reflect well on the teacher.

    Isn’t it incredibly manipulative when the teaching is based in faith, which allows no questions?

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