Sunday, July 20, 2014

A unified plan is NOT conforming... Huh?

A unified plan is NOT conforming... Huh?

On July 22, 2014, Fathom Events is hosting a nationwide interactive program called "We Will Not Conform" hosted by Glenn Beck and a bunch of other folks who are against the Common Core standards (CCSS). Well, interactive is use loosely because folks on the West Coast and, presumably Arizona, will be on a tape delay and therefore will not actually be allowed to interact during the program. Now, that's a great way to start things out, right? Get one of the most populous regions to participate by making them watch a $20 movie.

That aside, my initial thought is actually much more primitive than that. See, the whole premise is that Beck and his friends will get on screen and toss up a bunch false and misleading jibber-jabber about Common Core Standards such that, "By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of cinema audiences nationwide will be captured in a unified plan of action distributed to all participants."

Catch that? A unified plan. So... "WE WILL NOT CONFORM" hopes to achieve its goal by getting everyone there to conform to a unified plan of "attack" on schools. Let that sink in.

No, really, go back and read that again. Think about it. We are being asked NOT to conform to one thing by conforming to another. Wow. How many lemmings are going to shell out $20/seat for this? Unfortunately, a lot.

I am no Common Core expert by any stretch. I am just a guy who helps support the technology that is being put in place at districts in my education service area and the state. But, here's the thing about Common Core Standards: every state has standards. Long before there was any talk of CCSS, states were already using standards by which teachers had to teach and students had to learn. Without some kind of standard, how would your child even learn anything? You'd have some students in 2nd Grade learning algebra whether or not they had the fundamentals. And then when your child was failing, it would be "too bad. This is what we teach." That is crazy.

Oh, I know, people argue that CCSS will make cookie-cutter kids out of our children. Here's the thing: in the "old days," people didn't move around as much. So, state standards were fine. Today, people move all the time - especially between states. So, when your student is learning certain things in Pennsylvania (as I did) and then moves to Colorado (as I did), he has to either re-take certain courses because the "standards and content" didn't match (as I had to) or has to take a whole different set of courses because "we don't follow that track. We have THIS track for you to follow." Ridiculous. Of course, the "Common" Core State Standards are basically ineffective in this regard because many states are not participating in those standards. Or, some states, like Florida, are taking the standards, calling them something else, and passing those off as traditional state standards. We essentially have the same thing we have always had: a random mish-mash of what is being taught, what is expected, and what our children are going to learn through the forced system of public education in this country. Alas, compulsory public education is a topic of discussion for another post.

I want to know that my children will have the same (or close to the same) education experience as any other child in this country. That is, of course, but a dream.

Now, we know that the education experience isn't the same with or without CCSS. The districts in which essentially unlimited funding provides a myriad of opportunities (such as art, music, robotics, etc) always provide courses that rural and/or poorer districts simply can't afford to offer. That, too, is a discussion for another time.

I am not fool enough to think the relative handful of people who read my blatherings are going to somehow change the minds of the anti-CCSS folks. But, I do think it is important to raise the issue that a group of folks claiming to "NOT CONFORM" are going to attempt to brainwash a sector of this society by making them CONFORM to a "unified plan of action."

So, when it comes to non-conformity, it appears that, "all-in-all, you're just another brick in the wall." It's just a matter of deciding whose wall you want to be bricked into.

(Final quote comes from Pink Floyd's song "Another brick in the wall")

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