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De Pasquale’s Dozen with Author Joy Pullmann

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

As a non-parent, my only experience with Common Core is when someone I follow on social media shares a video or meme showing the ridiculous way kids are taught to do a math problem. It’s easy to forget how pervasive the Common Core standards have become in K-12 education. According to many polls, I’m not alone. Most Americans still have no idea what the Common Core standards, a “640-page set of blueprints for K-12 math and English,” really are and how they’ve change education.


In her new book, The Education Invasion, author and Managing Editor of The Federalist, Joy Pullman reveals how Common Core has taken control away from parents and teachers at the expense of children’s education. Read this book if you want to understand how “a conglomerate of unelected, self-appointed officials” came to decide how America’s children would be educated in public schools.

The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.

1. What's your favorite movie line and to whom would you like to say it to?

I'm sorry, I don't remember movie lines. I hardly remember movie plots. But one of my favorite book lines is from C.S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy: "They were so used to quarreling and making it up again that they got married so as to go on doing it more conveniently.”

I read that as a child and have remembered it ever since. I say it now in jest to friends who complain about romantic partners.

2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.

I've been blessed with several mentors who have changed my life. The earliest one, who is still a friend and mentor, is an artist and art teacher named Barry Stebbing, who corresponded with me starting in middle school after I attended one of his classes, and published my art journal when I was 16. He's the one who helped me realize I loved to write, and really called it out of me.


3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?

Run a horse farm. Or foster orphans.

4. What canceled show would you put back on the air?

I dislike the premise of this question, which assumes I've ever watched TV much. I know, now I sound like a crank. I am a crank. How about let's answer "What dead author do you wish had written more books?" The answer is Jane Austen.

5. What's your favorite "guilty pleasure" TV show?

Right now, "Stranger Things." Guilty because it scares the heck out of me and I can't sleep after watching but before bed is the only time I have to watch TV.

6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?

A pinto palomino quarter pony. Yes, a real one. She was free, and there was a reason for that, but what a present!

7. What’s the best present you ever gave?

My husband--any children at all. I had to promise them in order to get him to marry me. So we're even now.

8. What's the best piece of advice your mother or father gave you? 

My dad's advice and example was to never go into debt if at all possible. So we buy cars in cash and own our home outright. And no, we're not rich. We just control our spending.

9. What books are on your reading list?


How much space do we have here? I usually have between three and five I'm in the middle of reading. Inevitably one is something hands-on, like crafting or cooking; one is fiction; and several are nonfiction, usually including something I'm reviewing to write about. My current longer-term reading goal is to read everything we have that Shakespeare wrote. I was reading Kristin Lavransdatter but gave up around page 600 when bad things kept happening and she never seemed to learn from them so it was very frustrating. I'll probably pick it up again at some point.

10. What's one thing all parents should ask their child's teacher?

I actually think asking what the teacher thinks about Common Core is a great litmus test to quickly get a sense of a lot of his or her major education proclivities. But the poor teacher might be scared to death to answer that honestly. In that case, I'd ask whether the teacher is aware of and actively employs the research of E.D. Hirsch about core knowledge.

11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?

"Apocalypse On The Horizon." Seriously, it's been such a rough year I keep wanting Jesus to come back and end it all. Eternal bliss, please!

12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political news arena.


That would be the moment fresh out of college when I had job offers in both teaching and journalism and took the journalism job because it paid -- a lot -- better. Now I know a lot of the reasons for that, which include the government monopoly on school funding, low expectations for teacher candidates, and the fact that thanks to state and federal regulations public schools employ one non-teaching staff member for every single teacher.

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