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the Common Core: a teacher challenged her sixth grade students to “revise, omit two and add two amendments” to the “outdated” Bill of Rights.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:
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.