Patricia Polacco on the Common Core

Noted children’s author Patricia Polacco (Thank You, Mr. Falker; Pink and Say; Thunder Cake; etc.) posted the following on her Facebook page and we thought it was worth sharing.

Good morning all of you, especially educators!

The pneumonia knocked the wind out of me, but I have it back now, and more than that, all of my warning bells signifying danger, are ringing full tilt! A couple of days ago I saw a piece on the news about Jeb Bush and his stand, not only on “Common Core” but his position on nationalizing education in this country. If he becomes leader of our republic, he has made it clear that he will authorize even more astringent school testing !!!!

My god, as if the American teacher and these poor kids can afford one more test! As it is, thanks to the “No Child Left Behind”, combined with Common Core, our schools have forced the educators to teach our children, how to pass test…this, in my opinion, has absolutely nothing to do with the joy of discovery and authentic learning.

Programmed information, which may be temporarily memorized, does not stand the scrutiny of passing time and usage in daily life. Our children are not computers, who glibly devour information. Ideally one should hope that the child is discerning and evaluates incoming information, then questions what is unclear and rejects what is untrue. These test evaluate programmed responses, something Hitler did in Germany, Stalin did in Russia, and Mao did in China. This is the second part of what I am terribly concerned about. Mr. Bush went on to say, that there should be a formation of a national school board. In other words, “governmentizing” and nationalizing public education in the United States. This means of course, eduction will be forced to promote the ideals and ideas, of the current government officials, instead of rewarding individual progress. This strikes terror in my heart. Because this is exactly the slippery slope that Hitler, Stalen, and Mao climbed onto their toboggan and used to plow down freedom of thought, expression, and dreams.

Please, could we lemmings, on a full run, heading for the edge of the cliff, take the time to put on the brakes and realize we are about to pour our young over the edge into an abyss that is dark, cavernous, and lethal.

Teachers and educators it is time to unite and speak with one voice. Bury your differences. Gird up your loins and prepare to do battle and stand your ground! We are fighting for the minds of our children, as well as preserving the very freedoms the framers of our nation and our forefathers fought so gallantly for. I am truly distressed and fearful at the thought of a national education theme. This can bring nothing but disaster and the end of the American way of life as we know it.

I will state again, it is not that I don’t believe in assessment. I am well aware that this is a tool to measure the scope of what our children are learning. It seems to me, we have moved into a chapter taken from “Brave New World” and we will have to face it’s consequences.

Just before I left on national tour, I stopped by a teacher’s house, who is a very close friend. She informed me, she was physically ill, in that she had just finished administering the Meeps, the Mcats, and a diabolical third one, that just about finished her and her students off. In telling me about this third test, she spoke in hushed tones as if afraid her own home had been bugged. She appeared to be very afraid and informed me, that it was against the law to discuss this test, describe it in any way, and most certainly, she would lose her job if she even wrote down an example of the questions in this test. All essay questions for fourth to sixth graders. When I asked her how they would be graded and who would read these essays, her reply was that she was being forced to read all of them. Let me say here, this teacher has taken her sixth grade students to winning national writing contest. This test had brought her to tears and almost a nervous breakdown.

What are we doing folks, as a nation, to our children? Who, exactly, is behind this monsterous corporate takeover of the human mind?

I am sitting in my day room, furiously rocking in my squeaky rocker. White and Tonto, my cats, are scared to climb on the cat fight table today. They can see their missy is agitated and angry. How much more can the average American student, not to mention their courageous, brave teachers..take? PP

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