Ever since states began adopting the Common Core State Standards Initiative, there's been a variety of black lash from concerned parents, teachers and experts. People have complained that switching over to the new system of teaching and assessment is just too expensive for many cash-strapped school districts, that it puts way too much emphasis on standardized tests (which many already saw as a problem in the U.S.) and that it has unrealistic expectations for teachers and students. These are all reasonable objections to a less than perfect system, but at least they're objections grounded in the real world.
Why is that so important to point out? Well, it turns out there are plenty of objections that are a little less based in reality.
First, there's Elois Zeanah, the president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, who argued that Common Core would lead to child indoctrination with ideals that are "anti-Christian, anti-capitalism and anti-America," and handily compared Obama to Hitler in the process.
"Your child or grandchildren won't be able to escape Common Core materials that are anti-Christian, anti-capitalism and anti-America. Or that are pro-homosexuality, illegal immigration, unions, environmentalism, gun control, feminism and social justice. Do you see what's happening? The Obama administration and progressives have found a way to take away choices from parents and to get rid of competition in education. And to add insult to injury, they're gonna force us to pay to indoctrinate our own kids. This is not a novel like 1994. It's Common Core."
Other than mistakenly referencing 1994 instead of 1984, she sounds pretty much spot on.
Then there's the thoughts of Christian radio host Julie Roys who believes Common Core is just an evil secular plot designed to starve children's souls.
"... the core's objective concerning reading assignments is based on a distorted view of humanity. [...] Proponents of the new standards, say the emphasis on non-fiction is necessary to prepare students for the rigors of college and demands of the workplace. But, people are not just utilitarian machines that produce work. We're relational beings with souls that long for deep connection and meaning. Classic works of literature provide that [...] Of course, the human soul doesn't exist to many secularists in education today. And sadly, as these educators get their way, it may cease to exist in our children too."
Because what good is education if it doesn't crush all your hopes and dreams?
But perhaps the coup de grâce is what Republican Arizona State Senator Al Melvin said after voting against his state's adoption of the Common Core standards. According to the Arizona Daily Star, when Democratic State Senator David Bradley pressed Melvin to explain why he was against Common Core — even though he's not actually read the standards — he said he understands "some of the reading material is borderline pornographic," and that the program uses "fuzzy math," substituting letters for numbers in some examples.
It's hard to argue with Senator Melvin, you can never really trust algebra. What's "X" doing in that equation? Isn't this supposed to be Math, not English class?
But to be serious for a moment, while someone like Zeanah or Roys can get a bit of a pass a private citizens, Melvin is a publicly elected official who doesn't know what algebra is and doesn't want anyone else to know either. Maybe instead of complaining about what students shouldn't be learning, he could take the time to get a little education for himself.