Merry Christmas to my fellow Orthodox who continue to celebrate the Nativity season! Also, I wish my nephew a happy birthday, and I wish him well in his studies.
Appropriate for such wishes, I offer an essay in Salvo Magazine by Robin Phillips, “School Deform: How Common Core Promotes Cultural Engineering by Killing the Imagination.” I am rather ignorant about the Common Core State Standards Initiative, but I mistrust pretty much any trend that gains traction in contemporary education. That field is full of confusion. It is therefore not surprising to read Phillips’ assessment of common core. In short, it is an educational program designed to mold minds to be useful pegs in the machine. What else could education be?
One example of the core’s folly is that it prescribes texts based on textual complexity—not complexity as profundity, but simply grammatical and terminological complexity. Hence, bureaucratic regulations and technical manuals are just as appropriate for students as the prose of Melville or Wilde. Phillips writes:
Moore also notes that Common Core elevates “informational texts” and articles by journalists above literary works through a computerized process for determining “text complexity.” Readings that are found to use technical jargon are rated higher in the complexity scale than works that use more simple language. Complexity thus becomes purely quantitative, without attention being paid to the quality of texts.
How could this happen? Imagine how many people had to have been involved in the crafting of common core—how many “educators,” school administrators, and civil servants. The rot is pervasive. And certainly well paid for.