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Common Core State [sic] Standards


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    Note: All book titles are real.

    by Susan Ohanian

    Traditionally, the books we chose for our students reflected both our knowledge of those students and the values we hoped to impart (and a big value for many of us was "enjoyment." We actually held as primary value kid pleasure in reading. Now, money carries a big stick and with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation paying for the Common Core State (sic) Standards, we see a cosmic shift in the books consultants-for-hire put on student book lists.

    This brings to mind the mid-November, New York Times Thanksgiving-erator, for people still uncertain about what to serve for Thanksgiving. Participants answered a few questions about preferences regarding main dishes, sides, desserts, and drinks. Based on the answers, the Thanksgiving-erator presented recipes for their meal.

    First, the participant chooses a meal type: modernist, colonialist, nostalgist, hedonist, extremist, purist, baconist, and more.

    The menu starts off asking participants to answer various menu questions where they make choices. The hedonist, for example, chooses between these three opening options:

    a) The type of bird is immaterial. But I must have my foie gras.

    b) Foie gras is not enough. I also require black truffles.

    c) I prefer a more conventional turkey, though it should be slathered with at least 1/4 pound of butter.

    And so on, getting more and more decadant. Here are the recipes that appeared on my hedonist menu:
    Quails Roasted With Bacon and Foie Gras, Puree de Pommes de Terre la Truffe, Creme Brulee With Truffles, and Truffle martini.

    Make other initial choices and you might end up with items ranging from chocolate bread pudding with bacon Crème Anglaise to a pottage of Indian corn.

    These Thanksgiving menu items should remind us that advocacy positions trumpeted in education have consequences for children. The Nostalgist, Purist, Global Economy/Common Coreist, and so on all have specific curriculum expectations. To sort them out, let's consider three responses to the key question: What's the purpose of education?

    a) To educate the whole child

    b) To reinforce important American traditions

    c) To prepare competitive workers for the Global Economy

    Depending on the choice, the list below is typical of the books a child is likely to encounter.


    a) Whole Child: The Day Jimmyâs Boa At the Wash
    b) Traditional: George Washington and the Generalâs Dog
    c) Global Economy/Common Core: Eat My Dust! Henry Ford's First Race

    4th Grade:

    a) Whole Child: Stone Fox
    b) Traditional: George Washington: An American Life
    c) Global Economy/Common Core: Giants of American Industry: John D. Rockefeller

    8th grade

    a) Whole Child: The Great Gilly Hopkins
    b) Traditional: Little Women
    c) Global Economy/Common Core: John D. Rockefeller: Anointed with Oil

    10th Grade:

    a) Whole Child: Hunger Games,XCVIII
    b) Traditional: Moby Dick
    c) Global Economy/Common Core: The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy

    To further the agenda for producing workers for the global economy and acknowledge that books are passé, all C choices will be presented in e-format.

    I had so much fun with the awfulness of the hedonist Thanksgiving recipes that I wanted to duplicate them for education. But then I realized the hedonist position is what the Global Economy/Common Coreists are all about. The only difference is their pleasure comes not from eating the diet themselves but from stuffing it down children.

    We could also call Global Economy/Common Coreists the baconists of education practice. It's their money so, as Homer Simpson advised, "When you're in my house you shall do as I do and believe who I believe in. So Bart, butter your bacon."

    When you take Bill Gates money, you'd better be ready to butter up the pedagogical bacon for children.

    — Susan Ohanian
    December 24, 2012

    Index of Common Core [sic] Standards

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