In April of 2011, David Coleman, the man who is considered to be the “architect” of the Common Core standards, gave a webinar titled “Bringing the Common Core to Life,” that was viewed live by educators from New York State. During the course of his presentation, Coleman told participants that the most popular form of writing taught in American high schools has been personal writing, either “the exposition of a personal opinion or the presentation of a personal narrative.”
For Coleman, now the president of the College Board, however, the skills of expository and narrative writing are no longer necessary skills, as he observed to his audience, “The only problem with those two forms of writing is that as you grow up in this world you realize people don’t really give a shit about what you feel or what you think.”
According to a description of the webinar for would-be New York participants, “As a result of this session, participants will gain specific insight regarding the impact that these next generation standards will have on individual roles and responsibilities in improving education in our State, namely teachers and instructional leaders.”
We can only imagine what “insights” the educators who participated in Coleman’s webinar have gained, or the “impact” the Common Core standards will have in “improving education,” when teachers are being taught not to “give a shit” about their students’ thoughts and feelings, and, presumably, students are learning as well to dismiss what they themselves think and feel.
From Coleman’s comment, it seems teaching children how to write about their thoughts and feelings isn’t “college- and career-ready” enough for him. Educators should not care about who their students are as people, just what they can do and how well they can perform on a test.
Blogger Christel Swasey, who writes at “What is Common Core?” said of Coleman:
What kind of legitimate educator would speak so narrowly about the purposes and benefits of writing narratively? Such a dreary-minded, utilitarian philosopher should not be honored with the leading of our nation’s K-12 -and now, also, our nation’s university- environment.
Perhaps the odd teaching of children that the articulation of their own thoughts and feelings, so that others can understand them, is unimportant is analogous to the absurdity of the greater weight given to “informational texts” in the Common Core English Language Arts standards.
In January of 2013, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita at University of Arkansas who developed the highly acclaimed Massachusetts academic standards, wrote the following about the importance placed upon “informational texts” in the Common Core standards:
But whoever compiled and sorted out the “exemplar” titles for informational reading in science, mathematics, and other technical classes in grades 9/10 wins the prize for the most fertile imagination and futile suggestions. What well-trained science teacher would toss out a unit on the Periodic Table or DNA in order to teach students in chemistry or biology classes how to read Recommended Levels of Insulation, a report released in 2010 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/U.S. Department of Energy? And what up-to-date science teacher would use Jacob Bronowski and Millicent Selsam’s Biography of an Atom, published in1965, for reading or science instruction in grade 9 or 10, regardless of the academic level of the chemistry or physics course?
Educator and statistician Dr. Mercedes Schneider sees commonalities in the words of both Coleman and Common Core champion Jeb Bush, who, this week, launched a new campaign to shift the tide for the drowning standards initiative.
Calling himself the “Eat Your Broccoli” Republican, Bush told a very friendly audience of business leaders who, like himself, are ardent supporters of both amnesty and the Common Core standards, “You tell me which society is going to be the winner in the 21st Century: The one that worries about how they feel, or the one that worries about making sure the next generation has the capacity to eat everybody’s lunch?”
“Do we really want this guy in the White House?” asks Schneider, writing at her blog. “Call it Common Core Callousness. Bush’s statement reeks of David Coleman’s sentiment regarding his vision of ‘Bringing the Common Core to Life.'”
Schneider added that both Bush and Coleman offer the same vision for American education: “Death to emotional health, joy of learning, empathy, and good will to man.”
“The country able to step on the faces of other countries via the highest test scores ‘wins,'” she writes.