Day #75 Weed-wacking and Education Reform

clematisMy husband just weed-wacked the clematis plant again. He miscalculated the length of the whirring string. The area around the fence looks neat and tidy now, but there will be no brilliant blue flowers tumbling over the fence posts.

The weed-wacker makes everything look tidy and neat,  hacking all plants to the same level. Anything growing along the length of the fence is executed at the same moment, criminal weeds or innocent wildflowers, all are beheaded at the same length.

My husbands’s weedwacker approach is certainly efficient. There is the immediate satisfaction of appearances, a manicured and sculpted property courtesy of the high-powered weed-wacker.

That same immediate satisfaction of appearances is in education reform today which put forward a neat plan for a systematic leveling of public education with the implementation of the Common Core, but like the weeds running under the fence, there are annoying questions that continued to pop up, such as:

  • Who were the educational experts that created the Common Core and what were their credentials?
  • How “common” are these standards if some states choose to use different standards? and What will be the consequences for not using or for modifying the Common Core Standards?
  • Can the standards be modified by national agencies (NCTM or NCTE) if they are determined to be ineffective?
  • How does the Common Core differ from  No Child Left Behind in promotion and funding?
  • Why was Pearson the only bidder on the testing bid for the Common Core?

Every now and then the supporters of the Common Core, backed by the US Department of Education, attempts to “mow down” those posing questions. For example, in November 2013, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents how “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

Wow, Moms. You got weed-wacked by Duncan!

But just as there are deep rooted weeds on any property, there are still many others those rooted in preserving the public school,  ready to  shoot up and demand answers to new questions on how education reform is weed-wacking academic and democratic principles. They could be gathering some strength from the constant weed-wacking….and hopefully, so is my clematis.



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