Smells like Common Core

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America’s Founding Fathers on one hand, and Common Core’s supporters on the other, have two very different views of education’s purpose.  Common Core’s goal is to produce students who are “college and career ready.”  America’s Founding Fathers, in contrast, stated (in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787) that,  “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

The Founding Fathers sought to benefit mankind by establishing and maintaining good government.  But who benefits from students who’ve only been prepared for a career without preparing them to maintain good government?  Common Core’s implied statement to students is, “you exist to work in a career.  Period.”  In direct contrast to that mundane view of education, the Founders declared good government and happiness are the goal of education, and these may only be achieved by first studying “religion, morality and knowledge.”

The Soviet Union was built on Karl Marx’s communist ideology.  In communist countries, like the Soviet Union, education prepared workers to function within a government-regulated economic system.  Economic choices were made for people by their government.  In that system, independent thinking was not valued.  Instead, it was squelched because it threatened to undermine top-down, government-directed economic activity.

“What you believe about your past heavily influences how you will behave now and in the future.”

Not only that, but because Marxists embrace a materialist view of reality – questions of a spiritual nature were discouraged or outright forbidden.  Soviet schooling focused on manipulation of the material world.  Hence a curriculum that was heavy on math and science. I talked with a man who grew up in East Germany under communist rule.  He said the family of a girl he loved (who later became his wife) had hidden a bible – a forbidden text – in their home.  Reading from it with him in secret, his girlfriend told him about free will, and his personal choice to believe in God and follow him.  He said he’d never before conceived of such an idea.  It was a foreign concept to him.

Significantly, communist regimes usually squelch such questions about human existence, mandating they are best considered fringe, forbidden, or better yet … forgotten.  Freedom of will implies freedom of thought, and freedom of thought means the regime may be questioned.

Free will undermines totalitarian control.

Consider what happened in just one case – Moldova – after the Soviet Union secured control of that region.  According to a BBC report, “Two-thirds of Moldovans are of Romanian descent. The languages are virtually identical and the two countries share a common cultural heritage.”  Yet when the Soviets took over Moldova they taught Moldovan school children that they had nothing in common with the neighboring country of Romania. Efforts to stamp out Romanian cultural ties were severe.  Grandparents tried to tell children the truth:  that they had relatives in Romania with a shared language, customs and heritage. Many children believed – instead – what was piped into their heads at Soviet-run schools.  Thus, the Soviets used falsified history to control the future of Moldovans.

What you believe about your past heavily influences how you will behave now and in the future.  The same is true of nations.  The Soviets understood that control of a people’s history IS the means to control a people.

Education as a form of control is a far cry from education as a means of securing and maintaining freedom.

America’s Founding Fathers knew that citizens in a free country must understand the principles of liberty;  principles found in the Bible.  There’s a reason Progressives led an all-out assault on the Bible as a textbook in America’s public schools.  Once the Bible – as a source of truth – was removed from the classroom, the only thing left to undermine Americans’ autonomy was to remove the historical truth about America’s founding.

Enter Common Core which divorces our children from America’s heritage.  Don’t take my word for it.  Examine a copy of a GED preparatory test book.  Look at the Social Studies questions.  As reported in 2014, “The new GED test has been taken over by Pearson, and is now aligned to the Common Core.”  As an adult education teacher, some of my students are preparing to take the GED.  I’ve watched the test change, and it’s not been for the better.  Where students once were required to have some basic knowledge about U.S. History – including America’s founding and its founding documents – most of the Social Studies questions on the GED now focus on students’ ability to interpret data on charts and graphs.  Much of the information necessary to answer the questions is embedded directly within the test questions.  The new GED test barely requires students to know even the most basic information about the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution.  Remember, the GED is now aligned to Common Core.

Why does Common Core place so much emphasis on non-fiction data, charts and graphs?  Well, just remember Moldova where Romanian culture and heritage was intentionally stamped out.  So was religion.

In a secular humanist philosophy – such as communism – there is no need to study religion or morality.  Morality is whatever the dictator declares it to be.  Humans are the sole measure of right and wrong, and the dictator alone declares what is right, and what is wrong.  The economy is to be manipulated by government.  Workers exist to follow orders within the system.  Independently thinking workers are a liability, not an asset, in such a system.  Heavy emphasis is placed on materialist studies such as mathematics and science, while philosophical questions found in great literature or religious texts are discouraged if not forbidden.  Questions – like the meaning of life – serve merely to distract the masses (like so much opium) from the task at hand.

Smell familiar?

Smells like Common Core.

Tim Keller
About Tim Keller

Tim Keller has taught American History, World History, government, writing, speech and related courses at both the high school and college level since 1997.

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