Check out the transcript chronicling a debate between Alfie Kohn and Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. The subject of the debate was national curriculum, I mean “common core standards.”

Alfie Kohn: “There’s a strong political interest in representing national standards as being merely “core” standards and to emphasize that the feds aren’t driving it (just funding it!)…

I’m troubled by the P.R. campaign I see: We’ll satisfy the politicians and corporations that want “rigorous, specific, enforceable, clear, defined standards” — but we’ll also reassure teachers that we won’t tell you how to teach. This doesn’t add up.”

Alfie eats his opponents lunch. Note how mr. Wilhoit refuses to answer even the most basic of questions Mr. Kohn asks of him.

I am delighted to have Alfie Kohn on the team for Constructing Modern Knowledge 2010, July 12-15, 2010 in Manchester, NH. Educators across the United States and in countries emulating our race-to-the-bottom owe Alfie a great debt of gratitutde for his wisdom and courage.

CMK 2010

As Arne Duncan and other unthinking vertebrates get aroused by the notion of common core standards, the rest of us should look at how stoobid the existing ones are.

Teachers in California are not only required to write the standards they are teaching on the board so that their disinterested first graders will magically achieve enlightenment, but they are forced to teach bunch ‘o crap standards like this gem from the 2nd Grade History – Social Science for California Public Schools Content Standards:

2.5 Students understand the importance of individual action and character and
explain how heroes from long ago and the recent past have made a difference in
others’ lives (e.g., from biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Louis Pasteur, Sitting
Bull, George Washington Carver, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Golda Meir,
Jackie Robinson, Sally Ride).

Please answer the following comprehension questions:

  1. WTF?
  2. Which does not belong?
  3. Are you kidding?
  4. Second grade?