Even Arne Duncan's "Apology" for Insulting Common Core Opponents Is Condescending

Arne DuncanUnited States Department of EducationArne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, had a moment of brutal honesty the other day. He immediately walked it back, of course, because when politicians occasionally let slip the impatience and contempt they feel for their constituents, it's usually a good idea to fake a little contrition lest their careers suffer. But he condescendingly lashed out at "white suburban moms" for rebelling against Common Core education standards, saying it's because their feelings are hurt when their kids don't score as well as they once did. Thanks for letting the mask slip, Arne, and revealing your disdain for anybody who might insist on leeway in educating their own kids.

Duncan spoke to a meeting of the Council of Chief State Schools Officers Organization, and said:

It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary. You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.

Not surprisingly, Duncan's remarks were reported and pissed off pretty much everybody. Even Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teacher, and a Common Core supporter, objected that “The ‘father knows best’ attitude for our kids, which is the sentiment it conveyed, had no place in the 1950s, much less 2013.”

In fact, as I've written, there are a variety of good reasons to object to the imposition of rigid standards on a nation populated by people of varying philosophies, backgrounds, and abilities. My wife, a pediatrician, is among those objecting that younger children are pushed beyond their developmental abilities. Can some kids work at that level? Sure. But to set it as a standard is a recipe for disappointment and failure.

Advocates of alternative educational approaches, including Montessori and Waldorf, find their approaches severely hemmed-in by the rigid benchmarks imposed by Common Core—and which apply even to charter schools, compromising their advertised independence.

And the standards are test-heavy, which doesn't play well with those who prefer lower-stress education. They're also wildly centralized, for a system nominally initiated by state officials.

Duncan has previously peddled that top-down rigidity as a feature, saying in June of this year, "Today, the child of a Marine officer, who is transferred from Camp Pendleton in California to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, will be able to make that academic transition without a hitch, instead of having to start over in a widely different place academically."

Sounds handy—except that such plug-and-play education is possible only if schools are so tightly structured that textbook pages are turning in near unison. We're not all looking for plug-and-play education—many of us have our own plans for our kids.

I wrote earlier that Duncan apologized for his comments. That's not exactly true. On the Department of Education blog, he basically slapped himself on the wrist for calling out one group instead of everybody who objects to top-down standardization.

As a parent of two children in public school, I know no one enjoys hearing tough news from school, but we need the truth – and we need to act on it. The truth is we should be frustrated that as students, parents, and citizens, we’ve been hiding the educational reality, particularly as other countries are rapidly passing us by in preparing their students for today and tomorrow’s economy. However, we should use this passion to say that the status quo is not acceptable and that we want more for all students.

That's still control-freak condescension from a a man who has almost single-handedly put the lie to the idea that Common Core is a state-led effort with his federal prodding in favor of the standards. Maybe we can let him have his condescension if he'll let us control the education of our own children.

Enjoy the video below of a New York teacher accusing officials imposing Common Core of "child abuse."

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  • WTF||

    Arne Duncan - backpfeifengesicht.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    As a parent of two children in public school, I know no one enjoys hearing tough news from school, but we need the truth...

    Soccer moms can't handle the truth!

  • BladdyK||

    That was such a dick thing to say. I've got a couple kids in grade school. The common core is certainly imposing higher standards and pushing kids farther, but it severely restricts a school's or a teacher's discretion and puts a lot of emphasis on the tests.

    The thing that's also hard is that it is forced on very young kids, like kindergartners, who are still developing greatly. It makes it hard to address each child's learning. It also puts a lot of stress on parents because it is not entirely clear where a child should be at any given time. Should a child be able to spell a four letter word by November of kindergarten? Who knows.

    It's as if the state doesn't trust that by the time kids get out of high school they will be able to adapt to college.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Government education is designed to be an instrument of propaganda and bureaucratic control. This is why it will always suck.

  • Marshall Gill||

    The common core is certainly imposing higher standards and pushing kids farther

    Unpossible. There is no doubt that Common Core is anything but a race to the bottom. Collectivized education MUST conform to the lowest common denominator.

  • RickC||

    This, this is it.

  • Acosmist||

    Imposing higher standards is insane when so many people cannot meet the current standards, and never will, because they don't have the brains for it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's some sort of Glenn Beck thing making the rounds where people chant, "We learn more with Common Core." My wife will chant that on occasion when ripping on our public schools--she, as a homeschooling parent, thinks the whole thing is a disaster. And it's hard not to suspect that part of the motive is to force homeschoolers and private schools to follow the mandated curriculum.

  • Warty||

    We're seeing a lot of this "the nail that sticks up, gets pounded down", aren't we?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Interesting that their new healthcare law also screws white, suburban moms. Why is that?

  • Almanian!||

    Cause everyone likes screwing white, suburban moms?

    No? Just me?

  • Brett L||

    I've pretty much chained myself to that proposition. One particular white, suburban mom, specifically.

  • Almanian!||

    Yeah, me, too.

    Hope it's not the same one...

  • Brett L||

    Is yours about to spawn? Because mine is. She is about over hosting a now 8lb parasite.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I fear the screwing the government is giving them is truly and horrifically obscene.

  • Swiss Servator, kirsch anyone?||

    +1 Lucius Tarquinius Superbus

  • seguin||

    +1 Lars Porsena

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    We're going to homeschool (or, already doing it in theory). We've decided it is futile to bitch about how miserable government control of education is if we send our son to a government facility on a daily basis in the first place.

    But I too am worried about the last part of what you wrote.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sorry, your homeschooled child is not qualified to attend the university unless they do math and other things precisely in the manner mandated by the prescribed curriculum. How can we sit in judgment upon you unless you are precisely the same as your peers?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    I really struggle with how to handle higher ed. We have a 529 for him, but I kinda hope he will never need it because he'll pursue a career path that does not need college. Of course the way we are progressing as society, every job under the sun will need a degree 16 years from now.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, depends on the degree.

    I'm pretty confident the higher ed bubble will have burst by the time my youngest is college age.

  • ImanAzol||

    The education industrial complex will find you.

  • Marshall Gill||

    We've decided it is futile to bitch about how miserable government control of education is if we send our son to a government facility on a daily basis in the first place.

    Exactly.

    Nothing is funnier than people who leave it to the State to educate their children bitching about how it gets done. Shitty indoctrination is a feature, not a bug.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not easy or cheap to avoid state education, which is the extra bad part.

  • Marshall Gill||

    It's not easy or cheap

    Very true. But ProL, what things in life worth having, are?

  • Pro Libertate||

    True enough. I'm still hoping that the virtual alternatives will make the options better and cheaper. Still need a nonworking parent to homeschool, though, which is no joke financially for most people.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Still need a nonworking parent to homeschool, though, which is no joke financially for most people.

    Very true. We struggle financially because of it. Still, it isn't even a question.

    While it is very Leftist in outlook, when my children where younger I used edhelper.com. quite a bit. It provides pre-made worksheets for many subjects. I didn't use the History or Social Studies much because of their political slant, but the math and English and spelling were pretty convenient.

    Also, ignore age/grade. Your child is an individual. If he is ready for algebra when he is 8, like my son was, teach it to him. The only problems come when they basically finish high school at 12.

  • Warty||

    The only problems come when they basically finish high school at 12.

    "I have too much money! My penis is just too gigantic!"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Entering university at 13 can screw up a kid. And not in the good way.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Entering university at 13 can screw up a kid. And not in the good way.

    I witnessed that firsthand. When I was in college there was a 15 year old who could do natural logarithms to the 5th decimal place in his head. We used to make bets with new people in the social area on whether he could do it. But he never changed his clothes, was a complete social misfit otherwise, and spent most of his free time wandering the steam tunnels that he had memorized (photographic memory).

  • Marshall Gill||

    LOL Not quite. Since I am not extremely wealthy, I can't really afford to drive him to and from college every day. He is also probably not mature enough to handle living on campus. I am having trouble finding things to teach him and will probably force him to read AS this year.

    I am actually considering simply taking him to work, he is almost as big as I am, but then I would have to find some way to watch his 9 year old sister.

    I would bet that half the people on this board, or more, would have been ready for college at the age of 12 if they had been home schooled. Collectivization just simply sucks that bad.

  • Warty||

    Well, yeah, he should definitely not go to college at 13, but there's no reason he can't continue to learn cool things for a few years before he does go. Aside from reading and learning more math and science, have him, I dunno, learn to weld or something. Buy him a cool old car that's in rough shape and have him make it run again.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Aside from reading and learning more math and science, have him, I dunno, learn to weld or something. Buy him a cool old car that's in rough shape and have him make it run again.

    This is about what I have decided. I also want to give him an idea of what manual labor is like. I am considering enrolling him in some online college courses, too.

  • Warty||

    Also, athletics. Spending a lot of time training for sports would be time well spent.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Spending a lot of time training for sports would be time well spent.

    This is a problem. He doesn't like sports, much. I literally say to him, "put down that book and go play."

    I was thinking of clearing a space in my office and getting a weight bench. Any advice on weight training for 12 year olds?

  • Warty||

    This is the best introductory text there is. As far as how to motivate him, I'm not sure how to do it. Just don't force him to train, because that's the easiest way to make sure he'll hate it. Present it to him, maybe by taking him to a local black iron gym if there is one, and if he shows interest, maybe get him some private lessons with a coach. If he's into it, go from there.

    Weight training (and any other training, really) is at least as much a mental activity as physical. He'll have to learn how to motivate himself to do it, even when it's hard and he hurts and he'd rather be anywhere other than under a bar. And that's the real value of weight training, in my opinion.

  • playa manhattan||

    "As far as how to motivate him, I'm not sure how to do it."

    "Son, this will help you see boobies one day."

  • Marshall Gill||

    "As far as how to motivate him, I'm not sure how to do it."

    He is almost as big as I am. My plan is to do it myself and dare him to be as tough as his old man. I think it will work wonderfully.

  • Warty||

    are him to be as tough as his old man.

    That actually sounds completely right.

  • playa manhattan||

    I would say you should restrict it until your son is probably done growing. There is still debate about heavy weight lifting stunting growth, but why take the risk?
    I was a heavy lifter for football in high school, and I stopped growing about 6 months after I started lifting at age 14. I'm 6' and both of my brothers are at least 6'4".

    Purely anecdotal, I know.

  • Warty||

    Prepubescent kids shouldn't be finding their 1RMs, but there's no reason they can't train sanely. Waiting to train until you're done growing is insane; an adolescent's natural hormones are better than steroids and you can get very strong very quickly. I was 150 pounds when I started training at 14, and 235 pounds by the time I was 17.

    Where do you live, Marshall?

  • Marshall Gill||

    Where do you live, Marshall?

    Oklahoma City

  • Warty||

  • Marshall Gill||

    Thanks, Warty. I just might be able to fit that into my schedule.

  • playa manhattan||

    Do you think it affected your height at all?

  • Warty||

    Do you think it affected your height at all?

    I'm the tallest in the family, and the only one who did any serious weight training. So I doubt it.

  • playa manhattan||

    Um, yeah, probably not.

    I drank a lot of mountain dew in my teens. Maybe that's what did it.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Do a lot of squats and dead lifts - before you know it, the little guy will be banging Morgan Fairchild and winning surfing championships.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I would bet that half the people on this board, or more, would have been ready for college at the age of 12 if they had been home schooled. Collectivization just simply sucks that bad.

    I have to wonder if it's collectivization or is it, as research has shown, that U.S. teacher quality is that bad. For example, in the highly collectivized societies of Japan and Finland, the entrance requirements for their schools of Education are harder for their schools of Engineering and hard sciences. Read Marc Tucker's (Who is Common Core's number 1 cheerleader, btw) Surpassing Shanghai for more, if you're interested.

    Not that I am a fan of public education, but the results of places like Japan, Poland, Finland, and Singapore are hard to ignore. I do believe more rigorous teacher preparation could be motivated by the free market if we adapted our educational system to support that.

  • Brett L||

    Not that I am a fan of public education, but the results of places like Japan, Poland, Finland, and Singapore are hard to ignore. I do believe more rigorous teacher preparation could be motivated by the free market if we adapted our educational system to support that.

    Monocultures or significantly so. Look at say, children living with only one adult relative in the demographics and rejigger the statistics against that and see what the conformation looks like.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I have to wonder if it's collectivization or is it, as research has shown, that U.S. teacher quality is that bad.

    No reason it can't be both.

    Since human beings are individuals, collectivism simply has to screw a large number. Either the very bright or the very stupid are almost certain to be left out. The larger the collective, the more individuals that will not fit within the mold.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Either the very bright or the very stupid are almost certain to be left out.

    And democracy will always choose to leave out the very bright because the very stupid are more useful to the political class and may riot if left out.

  • Acosmist||

    I wonder what else is different in Japan and fucking Finland.

    lel

  • Invisible Finger||

    I would bet that half the people on this board, or more, would have been ready for college at the age of 12 if they had been home schooled.

    I was government schooled. In 5th grade, a standardized test indicated I did as well as an average 11th grader. When I went to the school administration asking why they were wasting money keeping me back 6 years, they laughed at me (so did my mom). After that my father pretty much made sure I was given responsibility around the house so that my brains wouldn't turn to mush and made it a point to insult my teachers (either to me or to the teachers' faces) at every opportunity. He basically told me "I'd get you out of the hell hole as soon as possible but you can see how greatly outnumbered I am."

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    We're homeschooling one, with another in private school. The homeschooled one is an Asperger's kid, so he struggles in a classroom environment but tests out way way above his grade level. It's been a challenge but there are usually local homeschool groups that you can work with to get help and some group schooling on your terms as well.

    It should be noted that most of the homeschool organizations are heavily religious. So if you have a problem with that, you should be aware of it going in.

    Also, check out HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association). They offer legal protection against your locality for a low annual fee. It's worth it, particularly if you're not in a homeschool friendly area.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not all religious, but yes, that's the biggest single group, the ones who don't like the "humanist" or state-worshiping focus of public education and/or want to teach creationism.

    A surprising number of stay-at-homes are on the dole, too. It's not just the well-off and those committed to making the sacrifice.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    A surprising number of stay-at-homes are on the dole, too.

    I have found that to be true as well.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Drives my wife absolutely nuts, especially when these same moms talk about politics and their right to "benefits." Aside from staying at home on our tab, they also seem to have lifestyles that aren't that much less affluent-seeming than ours. Just how much money are we handing these people, anyway?

  • Warty||

    My siblings and I went to shitty public schools, but our parents were heavily involved in teaching us outside of school and in kicking the teachers' and administrators' asses when they were worthless or evil, so we all turned out well enough. I'm not sure if that's still possible or if the schools have gotten so bad that their shittiness can't be compensated for. Either way, good luck.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    We send our eight-year-old twins to public schools. We just don't like them that much.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    (Plus, the administrators and teachers fear my wife.So we got that goin' for us.)

  • seguin||

    Fear will keep the schools in line.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I bet you hate the schools too!

  • Killazontherun||

    OT: I'm going to check myself into rehab, shortly, so likely to be out of the picture for the next several weeks. It was a tough decision, and the last thing I ever saw myself doing, but there is a time in everyone's life you have to face your own limitations, and look your inner demons square in the eye. Last night, I was mainlining Tom Brady's tears, and the words to describe the intensity of the experience fail me. Nothing can possibly prepare one for such and incredible experience. Knowing the inevitable crash awaits me, and Tom Brady tears are in such a limited supply, withdrawal is going to be a bitch. Wish me luck.

  • wareagle||

    seriously? If so, best of luck. Demons suck; kick their asses.

  • Almanian!||

    Good luck, Killaz. I don't know what else to say - just....good luck.

    *gives Killaz a one-arm Man Hug™ in comforting - not creepy - manner*

  • Killazontherun||

    I thought the physics deniers talking about the last play would be an antidote, but they only gave the TBT an extra boost.

  • Almanian!||

    TB is absolutely the sorest loser in the NFL right now, which - I think - is what makes his salty ham tears SO delicious.

    Enjoy the trip while you're on it! Be strong when the DT's set in, brother...

  • Killazontherun||

    Is . . is . . that Amy Winehouse I see? I'm coming for you, baby!

  • wareagle||

    extra boost and still incomplete. And no flag.

  • AuH20||

    Good wishes and good luck, man. Seriously, stay safe, stay sane, and just... best wishes man. Hope all goes well.

    It getting dusty in here for anyone else?

  • Brett L||

    Haha. Auric and Hamiltonian are probably shooting heroin into their eyeballs to deal with that.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Tom Brady voted for Obama and had his healthcare cancelled?

  • playa manhattan||

    I'm so confused. Is this even partly true?

  • Spoonman.||

    You and me both.

  • Killazontherun||

    TBT, its a helluva drug. But no. Rehab is for bleefers in establishment methodologies. Another read through of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics, and I'll be good to go.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Get in line.

    Stay in line.

    No talking.

    No touching.

    No running.

    No laughing.

  • Aloysious||

    I know I'm giving into childish impulses, but I want to see all these state loving progs get in a wrestling ring and elbow drop each other. Maybe throw in a few head butts. Maybe they could hit each other in the head with textbooks.

    /fantasy

  • WTF||

    You fucker, you really had me going until the "Tom Brady's tears" part. Obviously no sane person would ever want to give up Tom Brady's tears.

  • WTF||

    @Killazontherun|11.19.13 @ 11:13AM|#

    Fucking squirrels.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yeah, I'm kind of a horrible person like that. But, if anyone has any TBT they'd like to sell for just one more hit, I'm in the market.

  • Almanian!||

    JUST SAY NO!!

    YOU CAN DO IT, KILLAZ! JUST SAY NO!!!

  • Killazontherun||

    You're right, I need to stay strong, for the family. So, just one more hit, and I think I can pull through this.

  • Almanian!||

    "I'm gonna kick....tomorrow...."

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    There's a good chance there will be more TBT for sale Sunday night. The Pats are 2.5 underdogs (at home) to the Broncos. First time in 8 years they've been home dogs. It's going to be a good game.

  • Killazontherun||

    The chance of two losses in a row. How's the wild card picture shaping up in the AFC? That could turn out to be epic. Well, if the Jets weren't so predictably erratic.

  • AuH20||

    I thought you were using humor to undercut a serious thing, but you weren't.

    Eh, I'll rule it a semi-dick move.

    But I NEED TOM BRADY'S TEARS TOO MUCH! GIVE ME YOUR STASH MAN!

  • Killazontherun||

    I know, I sustained the tone a sentence too long like a complete dick. Sorry about that.

  • playa manhattan||

    You dick. I was about to ask if there was a place we could send donations.

    At least I wasn't the one tearing up. *cough cough AuH20 cough cough*

  • Killazontherun||

    Donations, for real? Don't wave cash around like that, I've got a mercenaries heart.

  • Brett L||

    I've got a mercenaries heart.

    In a jar on your desk?

  • Killazontherun||

    To remind me of what I'm missing, of course.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I went to high school in upstate New York in the early '70s, when they had this body called the New York State Board of Regents which established a state curriculum. The Regents Exams were given each year to graduating seniors, and it was a big deal. They were tough. Any New Yorkers out there, are the Regents Exams still in existence?

    I wonder how current seniors would score on the 1973 version.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The Regents are still around, though some would argue that NCLB and the Common Core are making them redundant.

  • Spoonman.||

    In my high school US History class (Texas, 2005) we were given the NY Regents' Exam on the first day to see where we were.

    I got a 98, but that didn't excuse me from the class.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Advocates of alternative educational approaches, including Montessori and Waldorf

    Waldorf is neither alternative, educational, nor an approach. However, if you don't want your kid to be able to read because even though he shows the ability to decode text, Waldorf decreed that reading skills are only taught at a certain chronological age to all students, with no exceptions, then Scientology-lite Waldorf is for you!

  • Pro Libertate||

    My wife mocks curricula like that which insist that certain subjects shouldn't be taught until much later. For instance, even the classical education approach she's taking suggests that science can wait. Screw that--our daughter loves science, so she's learning about it some now. Not to the exclusion of reading and math, but not not at all, as recommended for her age.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Who the hell recommends not teaching something to someone who is interested in the subject at what ever age? If she asks why it rains, what are you supposed to tell her? Indra, the king of the Gods, blesses us with the waters of life in exchange for our devotion and offerings unto him?

  • WTF||

    Who the hell recommends not teaching something to someone who is interested in the subject at what ever age?

    Top. Men.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's not quite that bad. What they're saying is get the foundational stuff all in, then get them into topics when they can read and understand them. I get the logic and even partially agree with it, but I already know how shitty the science education is going to be if and when she goes to school.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It's a current debate in Education. Most science educators I know or have read argue that the best way to teach science is through inquiry and induction and waiting until all "the foundational stuff" is in is harmful to that process.

  • pan fried wylie||

    Not to the exclusion of reading and math

    YOU NEED READING AND MATH TO LEARN SCIENCE.

    Using a child's interest in science to slip in the math and reading that they probably aren't as interested in is ideal. All learning should work that way.

    Teaching kids math and language on their own merits is pointless, and the kids instinctively sense this, which doesn't provide motivation.

    Nobody in the real world just does math (ok, not nobody, but doing pure math isn't that popular of a field, and if your kid IS interested in pure math, then you probably don't have any difficulty in getting them motivated to study it), real people use math to solve problems. Computer problems, Engineering Problems, Research problems. And surprise surprise, they're actually interested in the fields they're applying the math to, not the mathwork itself.

    So, teach that girl science. She'll pickup the other skills she needs to pursue her interest in that field.

  • Brett L||

    Seriously, if it hadn't been for a combined physics/pre-calc class in HS, I would have quit on math at Algebra II. Instead I made it all the way to graduate e-math before quitting because my brain isn't THAT logical.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Teaching kids math and language on their own merits is pointless

    Except if they're, you know, interested in math and/or language.

  • pan fried wylie||

    which i covered

    and if your kid IS interested in pure math, then you probably don't have any difficulty in getting them motivated to study it

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Gotcha. Still, I'm curious as to what you consider "language" and why it's pointless to teach on its own.

  • Snark Plissken||

    HM has a double major in theatre and world languages.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Heh. Not really. I entered school as a geology major in one of the top ten schools for earth sciences, I left with a B.A. in Humanities and a minor in Classics. I went on to get an MAT in English and English as a Second Language and a PhD in Applied Linguistics. I'm in the 1st semester of working on a 2nd doctorate...purely for the credentials, though the discount on tuition doesn't hurt.

  • playa manhattan||

    I love geology, minored in it. I'm taking the kids for a field excursion this weekend.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You're in Cali, right? If I went to say, New Mexico School of Mining and Tech or Colorado School of Mines, I might have stayed in Geology, but 18-year-old me remembers shivering in a granite quarry in a cold New England fall day while getting rained on and I was like "fuck this shit".

  • playa manhattan||

    Yep. The weather helps, and there are tons of real world examples around here for the curious. I lived 25 feet from the Hayward fault in college (which bisects Berkeley's football stadium) so it's hard not to get excited about geology here.
    Just last Sunday, I took my family up The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, where there are tons of armchair geology lessons to be learned. My next stop is going to be the Salton Sea Mud Volcanoes

  • Brett L||

    I've got a doctor-doctor cousin. But she's MD-PhD. They were the smart branch of the family.

  • pan fried wylie||

    The ability to communicate with others effectively, verbally or scripturally.

    If a kid IS interested in reading and writing, then sure, teach them those skills.

    The point is personal interest providing the movtivation to accquire skills required to progress that interest.

    Many kids find math and lingual instruction uninteresting, which provides no motivation, which leads to difficulty in conveying those skills.

    Instead, let their interest in other subjects lead them to obstacles that can only be overcome with the appropriate fundamental skills, and guess what, they'll suck it up because THEY NEED IT TO DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.

    Interest-Motivation-Progress

  • Brett L||

    I expect my children to learn rhetoric and composition because it helps them to clarify their thinking and persuasive argumentation, as well as identifying flaws used to attempt to sway them. I cannot imagine a more critical skill than persuasive and coherent argumentation and refutation.

    And I say that as an engineer/coder.

  • pan fried wylie||

    You say that as engineer/coder, because you use those argumentation and refutation skills to further your engineering and coding goals.

    Not because argumentation and refutation is interesting to you. Otherwise you'd be a lawyer.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Not because argumentation and refutation is interesting to you.

    In both 5th century Athens and 18th century America the study of rhetoric was seen as essential to all citizens as a prerequisite for meaningful participation in a republican form of government.

    O tempora, o mores!

  • Zeb||

    And given how many lawyers are in politics, it seems to still be true.

  • pan fried wylie||

    In both 5th century Athens and 18th century America...

    What percentage of those two populations received education?

    As the pool of students encompassed more and more of the population through the 20th century, making a comparison to previous eras where education was limited to the scholarly elite isn't really meaningful.

    I'm sure the Ivory Tower Scholars of ancient Greece and not-so-ancient America thought what they were teaching was vital, just like how modern Gender Studies professors think their efforts are vital.

  • Acosmist||

    The hell are you on about?! People paid huge sums of money to the Sophists because they WANTED to learn rhetoric, because it was useful for every single damn thing in life.

    Ivory tower scholars?! Crack a book.

  • Brett L||

    wylie,

    I hang out here. Obviously argumentation and refutation are an avocation as well. ;)

  • Brett L||

    Gee, letting children learn whatever they show an interest in might help drive an interest in learning for the sake of knowing? You monster. They must do what the Ed D trend now in ascent suggests.

  • Pro Libertate||

    She loves science and is the most logical thinker, by a mile, of our four kids.

  • playa manhattan||

    So just the 4 kids, then?

  • Pro Libertate||

    What, that's not enough?

  • playa manhattan||

    I got snipped after 2. I can only imagine what my mood would be if I had to coach 4 different soccer teams on my Saturdays...

  • pan fried wylie||

    if I had to coach 4 different soccer teams

    You just start your own league at that point, duh.

  • AuH20||

    Ugh. When I was in second grade, they kept hammering on about how you couldn't subtract a number from a number bigger than it. Basically, we were taught that 5-7 was impossible, and we should say as much.

    When I later learned about negative numbers, I was PISSED.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Ask kids about the parity of zero, then ask math teachers about it. You'd be shocked at the results.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think I've always viewed zero as an even number, though I'm not sure I was ever formally taught that.

  • Brett L||

    It does lie betwixt two odd numbers, and produces itself when multiplied by either even or odd numbers (even numbers produce even results when multiplied by either an odd or even number), so it meets two of the primary criteria right off the bat.

  • Zeb||

    Of course it's an even number. 0=2N for some integer N.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes, and as Brett and Zeb show below, zero is indeed even...and I'll try to find a non paywall blocked version of the study, but they asked elementary school teachers (parity of numbers is elementary school work) the same question....and let's not even go there.

  • Pro Libertate||

    At best, you could argue that it's neither, but even makes a whole lot more sense. Odd would be an offensive answer.

  • Zeb||

    It's really not ambiguous. The set of even numbers is the set of integers multiplied by 2.
    Asking if 1 is prime is interesting, though.

  • Zeb||

    I had a very interesting math program in elementary school that introduced negative numbers/additive inverses in first grade (with some odd notation).
    It is pretty outrageous that they would just lie to you about that (though if you are limited to natural numbers, it is true I suppose, though the definition of subtraction in such a system usually provides for some result when you subtract a larger number from a smaller one).

  • The Late P Brooks||

    their new healthcare law also screws white, suburban moms. Why is that?

    I like screwing white suburban moms. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.

  • kinnath||

    I miss that. White suburban grand-moms are all that's left.

  • Brett L||

    I dated a WSM whose mother was 45 and low mileage.

  • kinnath||

    45 is in the rear view mirror

  • Brett L||

    Neg them. Tell them they look good for 55.

  • kinnath||

    I suppose this is as good a place as any.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....ow_to.html

  • Almanian!||

    Go for the trifecta, mom, daughter...and low-mileage grandma!

    #FTW #creeper

  • Almanian!||

    PS I know, I know - TIWTANFL

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    TIWVPHU, actually.

  • pan fried wylie||

    their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were

    Scoring based on how it would effect the pupils self-esteem wasn't such a great idea it turns out.

    Have a gold star anyway, sweetie.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Duncan spoke to a meeting of the Council of Chief State Schools Officers Organization

    Okay, I'll bite. Who are these people, and what the fuck do they do all day?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Almanian!||

    What's up with Arne Duncan's head? It looks like it was squeezed in a vice, and then stretched vertically.

    What is it with the hideousness of Obama's hanger's on? So many goofy-looking people.

  • Ron||

    About the video, he's a politician of likes of Obama and Pelosi and McCain he doesn't care what the public says no matter how loud they yell or how many petitions. they know whats best for us.

  • AuH20||

    Nah, Duncan is a bureaucrat. The way you can tell the difference is that pols will at least pay lip service to the idea that the people who vote for them aren't completely retarded fucks. Bureaucrats don't give a fuck, because it's impossible to fire them.

    Also, the one word I am completely unable to spell? Bureaucrat. Always need spell check to fix my horrific attempts at it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    As a parent of two children in public school, I know no one enjoys hearing tough news from school, but we need the truth – and we need to act on it. The truth is

    all that money we have been throwing at education for the past fifty years or so?

    It was wasted.

  • ||

    That teacher in the video really let that commissioner have it.

    It was beautiful.

    Calling Common Core 'child abuse' was effective.

  • ||

    About 5 different teachers on my facespace feed have posted some video where some high school kid rails against Common Core. If only these people had as much contempt for other top down, one-size-fits-all schemes imposed on us by the federal government.

  • Brett L||

    To be fair, one of my friends who is definitely in the small-government, not-particularly-religious conservative camp took up substitute teaching because it was easier than doing small tile-laying gigs and found that he generally enjoys teaching. So I'm giving him a pass. He also lifeguards on Jax Beach all summer and will NOT tell you how hard it is to be a teacher. In fact, he finds it very convenient for 2-a-day triathlon training.

  • ||

    I just meant my particular associates. Most of them are music teachers in and around the Philadelphia area, so you can imagine how that skews.

  • Fluffy||

    With regard to his actual quote, he appears to be saying that people don't like it because their kids scored high on the old standardized tests but don't score as high on the new standardized tests.

    But if you get dramatically different results with the new tests (particularly for younger kids) it's very likely because the new tests are poorly designed.

    I've been giving my kid extra math instruction since he was 3, and he can do long division, reduce fractions, and solve basic algebra. He also writes simple code. So he's definitely not behind in math.

    His second grade teacher, however, told me he was concerned - because they have some kind of test they give kids who know NO MATH AT ALL, where they have them use a kind of cursor banana to move a monkey back and forth on a number line, and my kid did it wrong. When the teacher tried to explain to me what you were supposed to do to get the answer right, even I didn't really understand it. So I asked, "Do you have any tests that test math, or do all of your tests test whether or not you've learned to play a particular game before?" It's like sitting the kids down and having them play Stratego and telling me that's their English score.

    I am perfectly prepared to believe that the entire Common Core will be this way, across all grades.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Arne Duncan: A vile piece of shit who's time is over.

  • submandave||

    The Common Core push is more of the same academic elitism that has made the Bachelor degree of today as valuable as the High School diploma of yesteryear. It's great if Johnny understands the conceptual difference between 3 x 5 and 5 x 3, but for the vast majority of folks if they get 15 both times it's all good. This implicit link between academic achievement (as defined by the academicians) and value or worth is a real problem.

    I was recently at a local High School football game on Senior night and when they announced the graduating players EVERY ONE said they planned on going to a four-year college. Now, I know the city in which I live, and I know the school we were playing, and I'd bet a paycheck that many of those kids have no business at all wasting their time and skills trying to get through college. But that's what they've been trained to believe, that the only way to have worth is to go and get that paper.

    Universal efforts like Common Core only serve to further push that message that driving a truck or being a welder or an electrician or a plumber or a chef are all just different versions of being a failure, when the truth is that society needs everyone to value what they are and to be the best at what they do.

  • Invisible Finger||

    The sad part is most of them have no value to society at this point and HAVE to be penned up for 4 more years.

    If you already know these nitwits can't cut another 4 years of higher education, imagine how dumb they must be - they really DON'T have any value to an employer right now. OK, so they won't have any value at age 22 either, but they'll have gotten most of their adolescence out of the way while being institutionalized.

    It used to be that our society put responsibility onto children BEFORE they reached adolescence so they could handle their adolescence better. Then we decided to keep them irresponsible until age 18 and expected them to suddenly be responsible right during the middle to late stages of adolescence. Now that we realize that was a pretty fucking stupid idea, we restrain them from responsibility another 4 years (an even stupider idea).

    It's as stupid as the driving age and the drinking age. People should have experience of how alcohol affects them BEFORE they ever get behind the wheel of a car (for that matter, they should have first-hand experience of responsibility before getting behind the wheel) but instead we let them drive right at the time they want to start experimenting with alcohol. There should be no drinking age (nor driving age for that matter), but since we restrict people from having ANY responsibility for so long I expect the drinking age AND the driving age to slowly increase over time in this idiotic society.

  • Invisible Finger||

    You are right though that most of those kids should be going to trade schools. I don't see a major problem with rural high schools, but in urban areas the guidance counselors certainly have an elitist attitude, it's as if they are being compensated based on how many kids advance to college as opposed to trade schools. I'm pretty sure trade unions avoid a large number of high schools because of it so the kids at those schools won't even KNOW they could take an apprenticeship path. But again, you have to have 16 and 17 year old kids who WANT the responsibility when high school is over and the education racket has been trying to keep kids into education and OUT of personal responsibility for almost two full generations now.

  • M. Report||

    Napoleon instituted such a system for the F

  • M. Report||

    French; The boast was that every classroom in the country was on the same page of the same book at any given time; Does not seem to have helped much.

  • concerned cynic||

    All school students in the USA should be required to sit, near the end of grades 4, 8 and 12, a comptuer graded multiple choice test on English vocabulary and usage, reasoning ability, elementary math, and knowledge of basic facts about nature and social studies.
    Schools that perform weakly on this test would get some Federal money. This money could be spent on hiring proven teachers by paying them a premium over the union scale.

    It is very very true that more young people should go to a community college or do an apprenticeship, and fewer should obtain conventional 4 year degrees. Thanks to Wikipedia and Amazon, anybody can get a liberal university education in his or her spare time, at any point one's adult life.

  • concerned cynic||

    All school students in the USA should be required to sit, near the end of grades 4, 8 and 12, a comptuer graded multiple choice test on English vocabulary and usage, reasoning ability, elementary math, and knowledge of basic facts about nature and social studies.
    Schools that perform weakly on this test would get some Federal money. This money could be spent on hiring proven teachers by paying them a premium over the union scale.

    It is very very true that more young people should go to a community college or do an apprenticeship, and fewer should obtain conventional 4 year degrees. Thanks to Wikipedia and Amazon, anybody can get a liberal university education in his or her spare time, at any point one's adult life.

  • Wesley||

    "white suburban moms" Racist swine!

  • plusafdotcom||

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    "We, who know all, are only doing this to you for your own good. We hope you hate it, because that's what makes it fun."

    --- Obama administration motto

  • ibcbet||

    We've decided it is futile to bitch about how miserable government control of education is if we send our son to a government facility on a daily basis in the first place. good news

  • Duelles||

    Arne is a dolt. A product of a less than average educational system with no sense of history and a lack of global priorities. Our students have been testing lower ever since the Feds got involved. More home schooling is a clue, Arne, that your way is a failure.
    With a MS degree, I have really learned more out of school than while attending all those years. Perhaps I learned how to learn!

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