The highly acclaimed school standards called Common Core are becoming so unpopular that they may soon be politically untouchable. The critics are piling on from Glenn Beck to the Wall Street Journal, with senior academics and activist parents in-between.
The latest is a detailed criticism of the mathematics standards by a prize-winning math professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Marina Ratner. It is refreshing that her criticisms are very specific and include examples of assignments that parents can see are ridiculous.
Professor Ratner became alerted to the stupidity of Common Core by looking at the homework assigned to her grandson in 6th grade Berkeley middle school. Fractions are taught by having the kids draw pictures of everything, such as 6 divided by 8, and 4 divided by 2/7, and also by creating fictional stories for such things as 2/3 divided by 3/4. A student who gives the correct answer right away and doesn't draw a picture or make up a story loses points.
Ms. Ratner concluded that Common Core is making simple math concepts "artificially intricate and complex with the pretense of being deeper, while the actual content taught was primitive." The bottom line is that Common Core is inferior to the current good California standards, and the $15.8 billion spent nationally to develop and adopt Common Core was a gigantic waste.
College ready? That's another deceit. Math experts are saying that Common Core standards are not preparing students for colleges to which most parents aspire to send their children.
The Common Core History Standards have just become available. Real scholars say they are a "stealthy" plan to teach kids a leftwing curriculum.
Scholar Stanley Kurtz says that the new plan for teaching American History is spelled out in the SAT college entrance and Advanced Placement exams. They pitch out "traditional emphasis on America's founders and the principles of constitutional government" in favor of a leftist "emphasis on race, gender, class, ethnicity."
According to Kurtz, "James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and the other founders are largely left out of the new test unless they are "presented as examples of conflict and identity by class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc." The text of the new AP U.S. History exam has been closely guarded, revealed only to a few certified AP U.S. History teachers who are sworn to secrecy.
Parents who are attentive to their children's studies and homework have been up in arms against Common Core for many months. Now Common Core has become such a big issue that it's beginning to bring the politicians into line with what the public is demanding.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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