Thursday, August 22, 2013

Common Core Teachers Taught to Praise Wrong Answers Like ’3 x 4 was 11’

Apparently, under the new Common-Core standards, correct answers don’t really matter. At least that’s according to a “curriculum coordinator” in Chicago named Amanda August. “Even if [a student] said, ’3 x 4 was 11,’ if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer really in, umm, words and oral explanation, and they showed it in the picture but they just got the final number wrong, we’re really more focused on the how,” said the common core supporter and typical liberal, Amanda.

Of course this reasoning explains quite a bit regarding our nation’s 16 trillion dollar debt, and Nancy Pelosi’s assertion that Obamacare was a “deficit reducer.” When you consider that our finest economic leaders in the Federal Reserve, and the White House, think spending more money will result in fewer deficits, teaching that 3 x 4 = 11 (if you explain it well) isn’t really much of a stretch.

The left has long sought to bolster self-esteem by downplaying wrong answers in education. Everyone gets a ribbon; a truly disastrous lesson to teach when not everyone is capable of getting a job. And while the how is important in any lesson plan, in the end, the answer should still be correct. Amanda’s students are going to be in for a world of surprise when their first employer decides that doing the job correctly is more important than demonstrating “with words” an employee’s fundamental failure to grasp the concept of their task.

To the credit of the presumably leftists audience, someone asked if teachers will still be correcting students on math tests. The simple fact that someone had to ask the question should demonstrate the atrocious nature of American education reform. The question “are we still going to correct wrong answers” would seem incomprehensible in a system of honest instruction. Amanda, however, stumbles through a very entertaining non-answer:

“We want our students to compute correctly but the emphasis is really moving more towards the explanation, and the how, and the why, and ‘can I really talk through the procedures that I went through to get this answer; and not just knowing that it’s 12, but why is it 12? How do I know that?”

Well. . . Amanda, if they answered “11”, my guess is they won’t be able to answer “how do I know that” to a satisfactory degree. Well, 3 + 4 = 7, and both 3 and 7 are prime numbers. This leaves only 4 left, so we add it to our answer of 7 which is, of course, 11. Another prime number. . . How’d I do? Do I pass? What kind of world do we live in when math becomes a philosophical essay, and not a system of numbers, arithmetic, and simple truths? Well, it’s the same type of world that gives ribbons out to “honorary mentions” and lets every child star in the Christmas “winter” musical.

And this is at the center of Common-Core. At its heart is not an intent to better our failing school system (after all, you don’t do that by praising kids who get basic multiplication wrong) but to instil an altruistic sense of self-worth and liberal flexibility. To the American left, school should be an instrument to instruct children that they can be anything they want, and that the most important thing is life is that you get an “A” for effort.

Of course, I wanted to be an astronaut. . . And it doesn’t matter how hard you try, if you can’t answer the multiplication problem “3 x 4”, you’re not very likely to move into the highly competitive world of extraterrestrial exploration (although you could run for congress as a Democrat).

Amanda’s purported concentration on making sure children understand what they are taught certainly has its place in the classroom. . . Right behind getting the right answer. But don’t worry: People like Amanda will soon be writing up your child’s lesson plans.


Would Thomas Jefferson Approve of Today's Public Education?

Yes, Jefferson foresaw that public education would teach a broad range of basics. But no, he didn't imagine that academia would be run by the federal government or that it would turn into limited indoctrination camps for political correctness and secular progressivism.

There was nothing more important for Jefferson than the education of the public. For him, the preservation of our very republic was dependent upon it.

As far back as 1787, he wrote to James Madison: "Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty."

And in 1810, after two terms as president, he penned, "No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free & good government."

In 1816, he further noted: "Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. ... I believe (the human condition) susceptible of much improvement, and most of all, in matters of government and religion; and that the diffusion of knowledge among the people is to be the instrument by which it is effected."

And in 1822, only four years before his death, Jefferson said, "I look to the diffusion of light and education as the resource to be relied on for ameliorating the condition, promoting the virtue, and advancing the happiness of man."

Jefferson believed that the cost of ignorance for our communities and our country would be much more than the costs to educate the people. Again, he wrote, "Now let us see what the present primary schools cost us, on the supposition that all the children of 10, 11, & 12 years old are, as they ought to be, at school: and, if they are not, so much the work is the system; for they will be untaught, and their ignorance & vices will, in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences, than it would have done, in their correction, by a good education."

The Library of Congress' website, under the title "Well-informed people can be trusted with self-government," explains: "The ability of people to govern themselves was a major goal of education in Jefferson's mind. The new Federal Constitution of the United States '& a submission to it' proved to Jefferson that 'whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.'"

On this basis, Jefferson espoused a broad range of education: "A system of general instruction, which shall reach every description of our citizens from the richest to the poorest, as it was the earliest, so will it be the latest, of all the public concerns in which I shall permit myself to take an interest."

Jefferson defined education's scope in this respect: "The objects of this primary education determine its character and limits. These objects are To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed. To instruct the mass of our citizens in these, their rights, interests and duties, as men and citizens, being then the objects of education in the primary schools, whether private or public, in them should be taught reading, writing and numerical arithmetic, the elements of mensuration ... and the outlines of geography and history."

Educating the public with the basic subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic is about the extent to which Jefferson would agree with our modern public education system.


Australia:  Principals given out-of-school expulsion powers

School principals will be able to suspend or exclude students for offences they commit outside of school hours under new legislation introduced in Parliament on Tuesday.

Provisions under the Strengthening Discipline in State Schools Education Amendment Bill will also empower principals to suspend or expel students who are facing or have been convicted of criminal charges.

It means students who have been charged with a serious offence – as prescribed in the Children's Commissioner's Act – including rape, drug trafficking, armed robbery, torture, kidnapping and attempted murder, can be suspended until the charge is dealt with.

The bill, which expands a principal's power for acts committed beyond the school gates, also means a principal can suspend or expel a student from school for conduct outside of school "provided the conduct adversely affects, or is likely to adversely affect, other students or the good order and management of the school or where the student's attendance at the school poses an unacceptable risk to the safety or wellbeing of other students or staff".

Students will be provided with an educational program during their suspension.

Bullying and other anti-social behaviour, outside school hours and its property, could also be grounds for punishment.

In introducing the bill to Parliament, Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said principals understood their school community and knew what was best for it and should be given the powers to act accordingly.

"This provides a balance between enhancing principals' powers to operate in accordance with local circumstances while guiding consistent decision making that affords appropriate levels of natural justice and ensures the safety and wellbeing of students and staff is paramount," he said.

Under the Education Act as it currently stands, disciplinary options are limited to part of lunch breaks or short periods after school. The amended bill removes time limit restrictions for detention and includes options for Saturday detention and community service.

Short term suspensions can now be up to 10 schools days, up from five, meaning a long term suspension will now be between 11 and 20 days.

School principals will no longer require written submissions when expelling a student, however parents will still have the option to appeal a decision with the director-general.

"These reforms support the reforms under [the] Great Teachers = Great Results [policy] by strengthening principals' powers and addressing limitations contained in the present legislative framework around school discipline," Mr Langbroek said.

The education amendment bill has been sent to parliamentary committee for review, however Mr Langbroek expects it to be passed before the end of the year in time for the first school semester next year.


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