Rot In Common Core

by Jonah Goldberg

I wanted to get this point in on Special Report last night but I didn’t get a chance. I think the comparisons of Obamacare to Common Core leave a lot to be desired in many instances. But in at least one way I think the analogy works. One of the problems the Obama administration faces with regard to Obamacare is that basically any adverse changes to health care will be blamed on Obamacare, even if the law has little to nothing to do with it. That’s because Obama and the Democrats vowed that Obamacare would transform the entire health-care sector. As a result any changes in that sector can be chalked up to Obamacare. In other words, Obama broke it, now he owns it. At least for public schools in 45 states, the same will likely hold true for Common Core. Not every stupid decision by a school administrator should be laid at the feet of Common Core, but because Common Core is transforming public education it will be easy to blame it for any bad decisions. 

Indeed, some particularly stupid administrators will even rationalize their stupid decisions by saying Common Core made them do it. Enter Mohammad Z. Islam, the interim school superintendent for the Rialto Unified School District and the rest of the gang who thought it was a great idea to ask eighth-grade students to write an essay picking a side to the question, Did the Holocaust happen or was it “merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain.” From the San Bernadino Sun, which broke this story:

The Common Core state standards, which have been adopted by most states and the District of Columbia, emphasize critical thinking in students, which is what the assignment is intended to teach, according to school board member Joe Martinez.

“One of the most important responsibilities for educators is to develop critical thinking skills in students,” Martinez wrote in an email Friday morning. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion. Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship. This thought process creates the foundation for a good education. The progression is within district board policy and also supports the district’s student inspired motto: ‘Today’s Scholars, Tomorrow’s Leaders.’”