Mary Grabar

First we have a college student ordered to stomp on a piece of paper with the word Jesus written on it.

But on Holy Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education sent out this video from the Teaching Channel with a seventh-grader face-down on a table in the front of the class waving his arms and legs to illustrate a crucifixion. This video, like the other ones this non-profit produces, is intended to show teachers exciting ways to incorporate Common Core, the federal education program of the Obama administration.

When I first opened the newsletter, my curiosity was piqued by the video still of the student on the table. What kinds of crazy teaching strategies are they suggesting now, I thought.

But this one, intended to show teachers how to teach Common Core ELA standards on “language goal 5A Biblical and mythical allusions” had students not only doing the usual collaborating, talking, and “hands-on” activities, but had a kid on a table in the front waving his arms and legs, presumably to demonstrate the agony of crucifixion.

The shallowness of Common Core should be obvious from this one video alone. So is the ignorance of the teacher, who should understand the profound import of the Christian faith, not only on practicing Christians, but on our country and Western civilization. This is not to mention the insensitivity of the exercise. Heaven forbid that real (respectful) Christian imagery be used in a school or that fundamental tenets be taught.

But newsletter writers from the U.S. Department of Education wrote, “This short video . . . offers educators insights into one teacher’s pedagogy and practice of communicating the Common Core ELA standards with students. Here 7th grade teacher Katie Novak introduces students to language goal 5A Biblical and mythical allusions and reminds them why they are studying this literary tool. ‘They deserve to know what they are learning,’ Novak says.”

Like most of the teachers enthusing about Common Core standards, Ms. Novak looks a little too excited. But then again someone who would be savvy enough to know that Common Core is really about dumbing down standards, radicalizing students, tracking student data, and transferring funds from taxpayers to well-connected companies developing tests and curricula, wouldn’t be making such a video.

The teacher waxes on about letting her students know that these are Common Core standards!

“Ten years from now they will know that I really, really cared about them learning the Common Core,” she says.

Really? Is that what you remember from a favorite teacher?

Although Common Core is a federal program, with federal tests and federal access to students’ records, Ms. Novak says that she wants her students to know that Common Core was “not imposed by Big Brother.”

Rather, “this is something I am supposed to teach and that I will teach even if I have to throw a kid on the table.”

We wonder: How did she get him on the table? We don’t see that part, but we do see

Ms. Novak informing the class: “He’s physically looking crucified on the cross. Excellent job, Jack!”

The class applauds.

The lead article for this “Teaching Matters” newsletter (“A Newsletter Celebrating Teachers & Teaching from the U.S. Department of Education”) featured a photo of Education Secretary Arne Duncan with a teacher, one of eight he met with at a Maryland elementary school. The headline read, “Keeping It Real. Talking Teacher with Arne Duncan.”

Posted at Dissident Prof here.


Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at www.DissidentProf.com. Her writing can be found at www.marygrabar.com.
 


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