Friday, October 25, 2013
Common Core: Teaching Kids What — Not How — to Think...
Common Core: Teaching Kids What — Not How — to Think (Video)
Written by Alex Newman
In a brief video on the Obama administration-pushed nationalization of education through Common Core standards, part of an ongoing series about the scheme produced by The New American, veteran educator Mary Black highlights yet another troubling element of the national educational agenda. Considering the teaching styles and the standards themselves, she explained, Common Core could lead to potentially disastrous effects for future generations of Americans and the nation itself.
According to Black, who has 40 years of teaching experience and became an expert on Common Core amid her tireless efforts to expose it, schooling under the controversial standards amounts to teaching students what to think — instead of how to think. For America, that means big problems in the future, because the perpetuation of liberty and self-government requires citizens who know how to think critically and independently.
In the short video, Black draws attention to some of the many alarming facets of Common Core. Among the concerns: The fact that the standards are copyrighted by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). That means the public will have “no chance to change and alter them,” explained Black, who also serves as the student development director for FreedomProject Education, an online K-12 school offering a classical education based on Judeo-Christian values rather than Common Core.
“The standards, when you look at them, encourage a very robotic style of teaching,” she continued. “Supposedly, we’re told, they encourage independent thinking and more critical thinking. But when the standards require that the students document statements from reading material with statements that are from the reading material, it is definitely a fact that students are being taught what to think and not how to think. Truly critical analysis means tying things together that are in the knowledge base of a student, rather than just repeating what’s in the written material.”
The proof is already out there “that the curriculum is going to be very agenda-driven,” she said. Among other concerns, that means that those who own the copyright “can control what our students are reading and studying.” That, in turn, “leads to indoctrination,” Black said. “With this comes the ability for those who control the Common Core — the contents, the copyright for Common Core — to control what our students think. It’s very much within the realm of possibility.”
The dangers, however, go even further, she said. The United States, with its government founded upon the U.S. Constitution, requires an educated population — citizens capable of thinking and reasoning logically and independently. “The danger of a group of students, such as we’re educating now, not having this ability — being dependent on being told what to think and being led rather than acting independently — is a true danger to our country,” she said.
The teaching methods themselves, meanwhile, are also highly problematic, Black explained, pointing to those used in math as another example. Dubbed “Pair and Share,” the scheme involves having students teach and share math concepts with each other. “The idea of Pair and Share is very socialistic in nature, because, again, students are being told what to think — not how to think — and are not developing that independence of standing up for the answer that they believe is correct and to rely upon their own God-given abilities,” Black said.
“I like to call things as I see them,” the veteran educator continued. “The crux of all of this is that God has given each of us an innate intelligence, and our country — the fate of our country — depends upon each and every citizen having that developed, and using it.” The alternative — raising a generation of students lacking critical thinking skills — will lead to a citizenry that is essentially incapable of governing itself.
In another recent TNA video about Common Core, FPE Academic Director Dr. Duke Pesta, who also serves as an English professor at the University of Wisconsin, examined the sex education, science, and history standards. In addition to highlighting the radical content of the standards, he echoed concerns about Common Core being used for “social engineering” — a fear expressed by numerous other experts across the country.
Separately, Black and Dr. Pesta, both of whom testified against Common Core at recent hearings in Wisconsin, also produced a longer presentation explaining the myriad problems with the standards in much greater detail. It is available through FPE or free online. The New American magazine, meanwhile, has published in-depth reports on Common Core and the accompanying data mining, in addition to keeping up with the latest news about the standards through TNA online.