Monday, July 14, 2014

A Common, Rotting, Core

As you may recall, back in April and May there was a heinous disservice done to many eighth grade students in a Los Angeles area public school. After reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” the following assignment was given to approximately 2,000 English students at Rialto Unified (which meets the ‘critical thinking’ requirement outlined in the Common Core manifesto):

“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.”

Now, I am a firm believer of developing critical thinking skills in students as it can be a powerful tool that can be nurtured throughout their academic life however long that may be. Additionally, it encourages them to form strong and persuasive arguments that can serve them well throughout their life. However, there is a time and place for such educational endeavors and encouraging such ignorance as exemplified above is sickening. Without proper literature and reference material and anti-Semitic sources given the same credence as fact, it is a crime by these ‘educators’ to perpetrate such propaganda among such an easily influenced student body.

While largely criticized as anti-Semitic, there were still some hold outs that defended the assignment as part of this new educational doctrine that is drilled into the minds of students with the utopian end result being a better, all be it much more expensive and liberal leaning, educational system. Well, now we are seeing the fruits of such toil and trouble as many of those students, months later, still question whether the greatest genocide in history ever occurred. After months of sifting through what has now become public record, the Los Angeles Daily News recently reported the following:

“An examination of the essays by newsroom staff found that at least 50 essays denied or doubted the Holocaust occurred. Even many students who agreed the Holocaust occurred said there were good reasons to believe it had not or that elements of the historical record were actually hoaxes.”

So now we are seeing the fallout and we will continue to fight the difficult battle of changing minds that have already been made up. This is the common core of the problem and one that, if such a system is left unchecked, will continue to eat away at the educational system. In addition to the financial burdens that such a mandate places on school districts, the ideals that this doctrine instills in students is counterproductive to the uniqueness of communities throughout the nation and is detrimental to creating a peaceful society… after all, if the curriculum doesn’t meet the liberal standards, it can’t be taught in the schools because any other view is just plain wrong.