I want to make it clear from the outset that I don’t think anyone who created the Common Core State Standards ever considered some of the unintended consequences of their vague standards. In fact, I doubt this ever entered their minds.
But, there are consequences when standards are not clear to teachers. And, those consequences can be serious.
Struggling to create a writing assignment that pushed students to “formulate a persuasive argument” as required by Common Core, a high school teacher in Albany, New York, clearly crossed a line.
The local Albany area TimesUnion.com newspaper covers the story in “School apologizes for ‘Nazi’ writing assignment.”
The newspaper summarizes the assignment: “Think like a Nazi, the assignment required students. Argue why Jews are evil.”
The article cites other examples of how Common Core impetus resulted in extraordinarily objectionable assignments in other cities:
“In February, a Manhattan teacher caused an uproar after fourth-graders were given a math problem based on how many daily whippings a slave received.
In January, Georgia educators attempted to teach division to elementary school students by asking how many beatings per day former slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass received.”
And, this extraordinary video from Utah shows how a first grade Common Core aligned workbook basically tries to turn very young students into radical activists.
Such objectionable school activity isn’t directly found in Common Core, but CCSS doesn’t make it clear what is and is not acceptable, either.
In any event, the vague requirements of Common Core have served as a door-opener and stimulus for such highly objectionable activity to appear in classrooms.
That door Common Core opened is also letting a whole lot of other things like failed ideas about teaching math and poor approaches for minorities to reappear in schools – again – two decades after we tried those things, and they failed, under KERA.
I wonder if some other objectionable classroom activities are happening here in Kentucky. If you have some examples, let us know.